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Quinces: The forgotten fruit!

Do you know quinces? No? It's time to change that! The yellow fruits are both culinary and healthy.

Quinces have been forgotten for years. Our great-grandmothers still regularly made quince jam, and appreciated the special fruit. Today, the quince is rather unknown. But now slowly comes back in everyone's mouth. Even in ancient times, quince were known for their health effects and were used as a remedy for indigestion, colds and dermatitis. We will show you what's in the quince and why you should pay more attention to it. 

Origin

Originally the quince comes from West Asia. About 6,000 years ago, the quince was said to have been grown in the Caucasus. About 600 BC the quince was described in ancient Greece and was considered a symbol of happiness, fertility and love. The ancient Greeks cooked the quince with honey. This jelly served the sick as a stimulating medicine and travelers as provisions. Hippocrates, the most famous doctor of antiquity, prescribed the quince in fever or in gastrointestinal problems. In naturopathy, the seeds and leaves of the quince are used in addition to the shell and the pulp. Even with reflux symptoms quince syrup seems to be popular too. However, there is no scientific evidence for this.

In ancient Rom, the quince occurred about 200 BC. The Romans called the quince "wool apple" because of its fluffy shell. The Romans eventually brought the fruit to Central Europe. Today, the quince is mainly cultivated in the Mediterranean. The aromatic fruits are native to Central Asia, Iran, Southeast Arabia, Japan, parts of North America and Crete. Most of our quinces come from Spain, Italy, Portugal and North Africa.

What are quinces?

Quinces are rich yellow and grow like apples and pears as pome fruit on shrubs, and smell a little like lemons. There are apple and pear quinces, so quinces usually look like a crossbreed between apples and pears. Quinces contain three times more vitamin C than their known relatives. Quince season is in fall. You should not bite heartily at the local quince. Fresh, the fruits are rock hard, not a bit sweet or juicy. You have to cook them first to taste the fruits, but then the vitamin C is gone. So why should you eat quinces?

 What is in them?

Quinces are used in food and pharmaceutical products. The fruit is rich in lignin, which is why, among other things, quince is used in tea, wine and starch syrup production.

Quinces contain plenty of potassium, about 200 mg of potassium per 100g quince. In addition to sodium and chloride, potassium is one of the most important electrolytes in our body. Potassium controls the transmission of stimuli in our nerves and the contractions in our muscles. In addition, potassium regulates our water balance.

Furthermore, quince also contains minerals, trace elements and vitamins such as iron, zinc, copper, calcium, magnesium, vitamin A, vitamin B1, folic acid (important for pregnant women), vitamin B6 and vitamin E. The minerals and trace elements are, among other things, responsible for cell metabolism, regeneration of the muscles and oxygen transport in the body. Folic acid is important for cell division and zinc is good for hair, nails and body’s defenses.

The quince impresses in this case above all by the variety of vital substances and not so much by a high content.

Similar to apples and pears, the quince contains pectin. Pectins are soluble fibers that can absorb large amounts of water and sugar. This ensures a healthy digestion and keeps our blood pressure in balance. Pectin also has the ability to bind bile acid. In order to form new bile acid, cholesterol is taken from the blood - the result: cholesterol level drops. An increased intake of fiber, with sufficient mineral intake, not only helps to keep cholesterol levels in check, but also reduces the risk of high blood pressure.

Pectins can also positively affect the intestinal flora, as they promote the growth of the positive bacteria. As a result, negative bacteria can be suppressed.

Pectins can also help in the detoxification of the organism, because they bind to heavy metals, as well as radioactive particles such as cesium, strontium or plutonium and are then excreted through the intestine. This could be observed by children in Belarus injured during Chernobyl.

Quinces contain, in addition to vitamin C, other antioxidants, such as flavonoids. These phytochemicals protect the body from free radicals and can counteract various diseases. Quercetin is such a phytochemical and was named the king of flavonoids by researchers.

These are good reasons to bring these woody things back on our plate. Especially their nutritional content makes the quince healthy. The yellow fruit is rich in dietary fiber and provides valuable vitamins and minerals. These ingredients can help prevent various diseases and support our health.