Quince is one of those fruits that many people never ever think to use, with some not even knowing what it is! In this blog, we’ll dive into the often misunderstood quince, exploring its uses, how to cook it, and its key qualities. But first, and most importantly, what is quince? 

Quince is a yellow fruit that resembles a cross between an apple and a pear. The fruit is not usually eaten raw due to its bitter flavour, but instead cooked into a variety of recipes including crumble, chutney, jam, and Membrillo (quince paste). Quince is in season from October to November.

Read on to find out more about quince and six ways to use it in your autumn and winter cooking.

What is Quince?

Quince, scientifically known as Cydonia oblonga, is a golden-hued fruit resembling a cross between an apple and a pear. Whilst its appearance might suggest a similarity to its more popular cousins, quince is a distinct fruit with its own unique characteristics.

When is Quince in Season?

Quince typically comes into season in the autumn, making it a delightful addition to your autumn and winter dishes. Keep an eye out for these aromatic fruits in local farmers’ markets and supermarkets during the cooler months.

If you’d like to learn more about which produce is in season right now, read our Month-By-Month Seasonal Eating Guide.

What Does Quince Taste Like?

Unlike its sweeter counterparts, quince boasts a mildly tart, bitter, and acidic flavour when raw. However, quince turns fragrant and sweet when cooked, releasing its natural sugars and developing a beautiful rosy hue. Some describe the taste of a cooked quince as the perfect mix between an apple and a pear.

If you want to try quince but can’t find it in your local supermarket, we’d recommend trying a quince preserve, such as the Otter Vale Quince Jelly, which is handmade in Devon. 

Can You Eat Quince Raw?

Not really. Quince is very bitter when raw, so it is almost impossible to consume in its natural state, unlike an apple or a pear. Raw quinces also have quite tough skin, which is hard to bite into.

What Can You Use Instead of Quince?

Quince is notoriously hard to find outside of its harvesting season, unlike tomatoes or strawberries, which are found in UK supermarkets year-round. If you can’t find quince, you could instead use:

  • Apples (go for a tart variety, such as a Granny Smith)
  • Pears (Asian pears work well)
  • Rhubarb (this has a similar tartness, but a very different shape)

6 Things To Do With Quinces

Quince is mysterious, so it isn’t obvious what to do with it! Here are some of our favourite ways to use the yellow winter fruit:

Quince Jam

Create a tart quince jam by simmering equal parts peeled and diced quinces with sugar and a hint of lemon juice until it reaches a delightful, spreadable consistency. Using quince to make a jam is a great choice due to the fruit’s high pectin content (pectin helps jam to set), so there is no need to add any pricey pectin additives.

Quince Chutney

Elevate your condiment game with a quince chutney. Its natural tartness pairs wonderfully with spices, creating a versatile accompaniment for cheeses, meats, and more. To make quince chutney, combine quince (peeled and chopped), onions, dates, apple cider vinegar, brown sugar, and spices. Simmer for an hour before adding to steralised jars and storing for up to six months.

Read our Complete Cheese & Chutney Pairing Guide to learn how to pair quince chutney.

Quince & Apple Crumble

Quince has some similar notes to apples, so it works perfectly in an apple pie or crumble by adding a touch of tartness. Simply substitute some of your apples (we’d recommend only swapping around a quarter) for peeled and chopped quince. Stir in sugar and cinnamon before topping with a crispy, golden-brown crumble for the perfect autumn dessert.

Try substituting the raspberries in our Apple & Raspberry Crumble for chopped quince.

Quince With Cheese

Enjoy the fruit’s unique flavour by pairing quince slices with a variety of cheeses. Quince paste, made specifically for cheese, is available in most farm shops and supermarkets, and it is a great alternative to chutney on a cracker. We love the Quince Fruit Puree from The Fine Cheese Co in particular! Its tartness complements the richness of both soft and hard cheese varieties.

Baked Quince

Quince makes for a perfect appetiser or dessert. If you’re looking for a simple pudding for your next dinner party, glaze your quince with lemon, honey, and cinnamon and bake until golden. For something savoury, halve and hollow your quince, cover in olive oil, and stuff it with a walnut and goats cheese mixture. 

Follow the recipe for our Baked Pears With Goats Cheese, but just substitute the pears for your quince fruit.

Membrillo & Pate de Coings

Membrillo, also known as Pete de Coings, is a sweet, thick jelly or paste made from the quince fruit. It’s a popular delicacy in Spanish, French, and Latin American cuisines, often served with cheese or used as a spread. The spread is made by boiling quinces, before blending the softened fruit with sugar and setting it in the fridge. BBC Good Food has a great recipe for Membrillo, or you can buy it for just £5.50 on Amazon.

Seasonal Eating With Savery Grazing

At Savery Grazing, we’re passionate about supporting our local farmers and the nature around us, which is why we love shouting about seasonal produce. For delicious recipes that only use the finest seasonal ingredients, as well as foodie tips & tricks, visit our blog page.

If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to contact our team. You can also send us a message on Instagram or Facebook!

Related Questions

Can You Buy Quince in the UK?

Yes, you can! Although quince is quite hard to find in some of the big chain supermarkets, you can often find it in M&S or Waitrose. Failing that, some farm shops stock the fruit, and you can also order quince online.

Do You Have To Cook Quince Before Eating?

While technically you can eat quince raw, its tough and astringent nature is better suited for cooking. Most quince recipes involve cooking or baking to bring out the fruit’s sweet and aromatic qualities.

Can You Freeze Quince?

Yes, you can freeze quince for future use. Peel and core the quince, cut it into slices or chunks, and store it in an airtight container or freezer bag. Frozen quince can be used in various recipes, such as jams, compotes, or desserts.

Jasmine Savery
Founder & Director

Hi! I'm Jasmine, and I launched Savery Grazing in 2022. I’ve always had a passion for food, with a particular love for how social it can be. Follow along as I share my favourite tips, tricks, and delicious recipes with you.

Hi! I'm Jasmine, and I launched Savery Grazing in 2022. I’ve always had a passion for food, with a particular love for how social it can be. Follow along as I share my favourite tips, tricks, and delicious recipes with you.