Can You Eat Red Flowering Quince Fruit?

Yes, you can eat red flowering quince fruit, but it’s important to note that they are quite tart and astringent when eaten raw. However, they can be used in various ways to add a unique flavor to your dishes.

Here’s what you need to know about red flowering quince fruit:

What is Flowering Quince?

Flowering quince, also known as Japanese quince or ornamental quince, is a popular garden shrub with beautiful blossoms and edible fruits. It is native to East Asia and belongs to the rose family.

What Do Red Flowering Quince Fruits Look Like?

The fruits of the flowering quince are small, yellow, and resemble miniature apples. They have a hard, dry texture and can be harvested from October onwards.

Can You Eat Red Flowering Quince Fruits Raw?

While red flowering quince fruits are technically edible, they are quite tart and astringent when eaten raw. Their flavor is similar to that of the true quince, but sharper and less delicate.

How to Use Red Flowering Quince Fruits

Despite their tartness, red flowering quince fruits can be used in various ways to add a unique flavor to your dishes. Here are some ideas:

  • Jams and jellies: Red flowering quince fruits are commonly used to make jams and jellies. Their tartness balances the sweetness of the sugar, creating a delicious and flavorful spread.
  • Candies and liqueurs: In Japan, red flowering quince fruits are used to make candies and liqueurs. Their unique flavor adds a special touch to these treats.
  • Cough sweets: Red flowering quince fruits are known for their anti-inflammatory properties and are often used to make cough sweets.
  • Cocktails: The tart and aromatic flavor of red flowering quince fruits can be used to add a unique twist to cocktails.
  • Garnishes: Dehydrated slices of red flowering quince fruits can be used as garnishes for cocktails and other beverages.

Where to Find Red Flowering Quince Fruits

Red flowering quince fruits are not commonly found in grocery stores, but you may be able to find them at farmers markets or specialty stores. You can also grow your own flowering quince shrub and harvest the fruits yourself.

Tips for Harvesting Red Flowering Quince Fruits

  • Harvest the fruits after they have turned yellow and the seeds have turned brown.
  • Wear gloves when harvesting, as the branches can be thorny.
  • Wash the fruits with hot water before use.

Red flowering quince fruits may not be the most palatable fruit to eat raw, but they offer a unique and flavorful ingredient for various culinary creations. Whether you’re making jams, jellies, candies, liqueurs, or using them in cocktails, red flowering quince fruits can add a special touch to your dishes.

Perhaps because they tried biting into one when they were younger, a lot of people believe the fruit is inedible. When uncooked, the fruit is more appropriate for hurling in a slingshot than for serving as dessert. Ah, but cooked is an entirely different story. Heat changes the fruit’s texture from extremely hard to pleasantly succulent, adds color, and lessens its sour flavor (though it’s still tart).

Flowering quince fruit is much smaller than true quince fruit, but the flavor and texture is very similar, and flowering quince can be used in many true quince recipes.

Depending on where you forage, leave the fruit on the shrub until it starts to fall on its own. This could happen as late as October or November.

Double-flowered shrubs have been bred for bloom, not fruit. So look for single-flowered shrubs, and check the plant tag. If a plant is fertile, it may indicate this on the tag. That’s how I chose my ‘Toyo-Nishiki’ cultivar.

I can’t really blame people for growing flowering quince because of its stunning early spring blooms. The show-stopping flowers, which can be red, orange, magenta, or pale pink, Unfortunately, many modern hybrids are bred to be sterile and don’t produce fruit—at least not for us foragers. Apparently some people find the fruit to be a nuisance. Let’s not call those people wrong…they’re just misinformed. Clearly they have never tasted flowering quince fruit.

Blooming quince is a valuable addition to any garden, as it is hardy and visually pleasing while also attracting bees and other pollinators. Birds and mammals can consume the fruit, and the dense bushes provide excellent cover for them.

Few people are aware that the popular garden shrub flowering quince, which produces hard, yellow fruits, can be used as a fragrant ingredient. This edible ornament gives seasonal cocktails an exotic, tart, and aromatic flavor.

Chaenomeles are small, compact, usually prickly, deciduous shrubs with oval, pointed leaves that have serrated edges and dense, tangled branches. Before the leaves appear in early spring, the lovely and abundant cup-shaped blossoms (shown below), which are about 3 to 4 cm across and have five petals (or more for double-flowered forms), appear.

The flavor of flowering quince is similar to that of true quince (Cydonia oblonga), but it is a little sharper and less delicate. It is too hard, sour, and astringent to be eaten raw. The fruit is used in Japan to make cough sweets, candies, liqueurs, jams, and jellies. It is recognized as an anti-inflammatory and has more vitamin C than lemons.

Quince, sugar, and alcohol are combined to create a sweet-sour liqueur in Japan. The fruits can be infused into brandies, vodka, gin, or Japanese shochu. To create a liqueur, partially fill a jar intended for preservation with thinly sliced or grated quince. Pour in more spirit, cover, and let steep for three months. After straining, fill the bottle with sugar, simple syrup, or honey to taste and counteract any dryness. Let it age for at least another month, ideally longer.

Japanese Quince / Cidonija- You must try these fruits

FAQ

Are flowering quince fruit edible?

Although edible, these spotted fruits shouldn’t be consumed when picked fresh from the shrub because the flavor is too bitter and very acidic. The fruit is often harvested in late summer and early fall, then cooked, usually with boiling water, to be used in jams and jellies—often alongside other fruits, such as apples.

What can I do with ornamental quince fruit?

While Japanese quince can certainly be used on its own to make a jam, jelly, or other preserve, I have found that I particularly enjoy pairing these fruits with apples. In preserves, and in pies and other desserts, I like the somewhat acidic yet fragrant addition that the Japanese quince makes in apple recipes.

Can you eat all types of quince?

Is your quince bush the ornamental quince, botanical name Chaenomeles, or the edible quince, Cydonia oblonga? The fruit of ornamental quince is edible, but tends to be less known for its flavor than that of Cydonia oblonga.

What is the difference between quince and flowering quince?

Perhaps, an easier way to distinguish these genera is that Chaenomeles is usually planted as an ornamental shrub with showy flowers (Figure 1) whereas Cydonia oblonga is grown for its fruit (Figure 2). Today, Cydonia oblonga or the common quince is sold as a grafted tree, reaching about 15 to 20 feet-tall at maturity.

Can you eat cooked quince?

You can use cooked quince to top oatmeal, yogurt, or roasted meats. Quinces are an ancient fruit with a unique flavor and several potential benefits. They may help treat digestive disorders, allergies, and high blood sugar, though more research is needed. Unlike other fruits, quinces aren’t eaten raw.

What does quince taste like?

Quince is a lesser known fruit similar in appearance to an apple or pear. It is known for being a good source of vitamins A and C, but has an extremely tart flavor. However, when cooked or combined with other fruits, quinces are flavorful and may be the next addition to some of your favorite meals. Peel the quinces with a vegetable peeler.

Can you eat Japanese quince raw?

The small apple-like fruits of Japanese quince are certainly not eaten raw, since they are simply too acidic and astringent. Unlike the typical quince, you would never eat these straight from the garden. However, you should not let this put you off, since there are a range of other ways to use these fruits if they are growing in your garden.

What goes well with quince fruit?

Cooked quince fruit pairs especially well with fresh bay, vanilla beans, lemon and orange zest, juniper, cinnamon, cloves, allspice, cumin, anise, and five-spice powder. Greek yogurt, labneh, whipped cream, and vanilla ice cream are winning additions to desserts with quinces.

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