Quince is the queen of autumn fruits

A coveted quince may have started the Trojan War. Greek lore says quince was the golden apple that the love goddess Aphrodite coveted.

Aphrodite devised a scheme that enticed the mortal Paris to declare her as the most beautiful of all goddesses and in return, if Paris did name Aphrodite as the most beautiful goddess, she would make sure he would get the most beautiful of mortal women, Helen of Troy. Aphrodite made this promise to Paris so that she would get for herself the coveted golden apple, sparking the 10-year Trojan War.

Fuzzy, bumpy, firm fruit of quince turn from lime green to golden yellow when ready for harvest. Harvest by cutting fruit from the tree leaving several inches of stem attached; wrap individuals in tissue paper to prevent bruising. Fruit will store for several months before preparing for the table.

Perhaps it is this Greek lore that positions quince as the queen of fruits, or it may be simply because it is a fragrant, exceptional fruit.

The specific epitaph for quince is from the Latin Cydonia oblonga (si-DOE-nee-a OB-long-ga), named from its mythological origin in the ancient city of Cydonia. In Greek lore Cydonia was a city on the northern coast of Crete that was founded by King Cydon, grandson of Zeus. Interestingly, ruins of the ancient city Cydonia have been found under the modern city of Chania (crete.gr). The fruit of Cydonia, quince, is even an important garden plant in Homer’s Odyssey (Arnoldia 67(1):2-9).

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