QUINCES – THE BEST AUTUMN FRUIT AND A REAL VITAMIN BOMB
Quince (Cydonia oblonga ) belongs to the family of Rosaceae and is a close relative of apples. The homeland are forests of northern Iran, where it grows wild in the form of a bush or tree. It arrived in Europe over Italy. Throughout history the cooked fruit has been used as food, but the tree is also grown for its attractive pale pink blossom and other ornamental qualities.
The fruits ripen during autumn, depending on the climatic conditions of habitats on which are farmed. They’re covered with hairs which is easy to remove, and reach the weight of 300-500 grams. Quince is resistant to frost and requires a cold period below 7 °C to flower properly (yarovization). The fruit can be left on the tree to ripen further, which softens the fruit to the point where it can be eaten raw in warmer climates, but should be picked before the first frosts, at a time when the entire surface of the fruit is pale yellow and is easy to tear it off by twisting the stalk. Too early harvested, greenish fruits, are much inferior in quality and can’t be kept long, nor too late harvested, usually with dark spots. They’re very sensitive to knocks and damages, and should be kept in unheated rooms, in a single layer with stem facing up. When the fruits color change from pale yellow to golden yellow, they’re ready to use. Raw fruits are not used because they are bitter, woody and hard to digest.
Due to its medicinal properties, quince has been known since ancient times in mythology and folk tradition as a symbol of love, happiness, fertility, wisdom, beauty, durability and eternity. Quince fruits, leaves and seeds are used. If quince is not sprayed with chemicals, then its bark can be also used for preparing medicinal tea. Quince compresses (fruit, bark, leaf) are used to treat open wounds, burns, cracked skin or nipple. Quince ingredients are also used in cosmetics.
Health Benefits :
Quince is a good source of iron, which is great for preventing iron deficiency anemia, a condition in which the blood lacks an adequate amount of red blood cells to transport oxygen throughout the body’s tissues.
Quince contains antibacterial properties, and is often used to cure bad breath. Because it kills bacteria, it is also a great food for fighting colds and flu. Quince is often made into a skin cream to reduce blemishes and moisturize skin.
Quince is packed with antioxidants, including vitamin C.
Antioxidants protect the body from the effects of oxidative stress, which may help strengthen the immune system and ward off diseases. Dr. Andrew Weil explains, “oxidative stress is the total burden placed on organisms by the constant production of free radicals in the normal course of metabolism plus whatever other pressures the environment brings to bear (natural and artificial radiation, toxins in air, food and water; and miscellaneous sources of oxidizing activity, such as tobacco smoke).” The effects of oxidative stress are often linked to chronic illnesses such as heart disease and many types of cancers.
This fruit is rich in antioxidants called phenolics, which is believed to be an anti-cancer agent. A study from Aberdeen University in the UK showed that plant phenolics were potential cancer suppressor.
Quince is high in pectin fiber, which is known to lower levels of LDL cholesterol (bad cholesterol) in the blood. According the American Heart Association, “high cholesterol is one of the major controllable risk factors for coronary heart disease, heart attack and stroke. As your blood cholesterol rises, so does your risk of coronary heart disease.”
Quince is a very good source of vitamin C, providing 13.8 mg per fruit, which is 23% of the recommended daily value. Vitamin C is believed to boost the immune system and strengthen your bodies defense against disease.
Quince is very low in calories, with only 52 per fruit, and high in dietary fiber, with 1.7g per fruit. Foods that are low in calories, low in fat and high in fiber and considered great foods for a weight loss diet.