QUINCE: a fruit of the apple and pear family, native to Southern Europe and Asia, now cultivated in every temperate climate. It was an article of popular consump tion among the ancient Greeks and Romans and is credited with being the original marmalade fruit (see MARMA LADE). It is in season here from October to December, Western New York supply ing the greater part of the American crop.
The tree grows to a height of fif teen or twenty feet, with branches nu merous, crooked and distorted ; leaves dusky green above and downy on the un der side, and flowers similar in shape to apple blossoms, but larger and more open and white or of pale pink tint. The fruit varies in form from round to pear shape and when ripe is of a rich yellow color and of strong odor.
The best varieties are the "Apple," "Pear," and "Portugal." The Apple, or "orange" quince as some know it, is gen erally rated as the finest, because of the exceptional tenderness of its flesh and the excellence of its flavor.
Large smooth fruits are generally considered the choicest. They require very care ful handling, as bruises rapidly develop into dark brown discolorations. If kept stored in a cool, dry place and occasionally wiped off with a dry cloth, they can be kept fresh and good for a considerable length of time.
Quinces are not eaten raw, but they are delicious in the form of jam, jelly and sauce, plain-boiled to eat with sugar, etc. They share with the apple and guava the distinction of being the best "jelly" fruits.
The seeds or pips abound in gummy matter which forms, on dilution with water, a mucilage possessing the advantage of not being affected by alcohol or salts of iron.