Saturday, 19 December 2015

Quince...What is it all about?

"The quince (/ˈkwɪns/; Cydonia oblonga) is the sole member of the genus Cydonia in the family Rosaceae (which also contains apples and pears, among other fruits). It is a small deciduous tree that bears a pome fruit, similar in appearance to a pear, and bright golden-yellow when mature. Throughout history the cooked fruit has been used as food, but the tree is also grown for its attractive pale pink blossom and other ornamental qualities." Wiki

Yes... a couple of years ago I also had no idea that this fruit existed, let alone that it has been around us, on the Maltese islands, for the past 500 years or so. The Maltese name is Sfarġel (farmers we work with and some online articles also refer to it as Sfejġel). Somehow, maybe because of its scattered presence, through lack of awareness or due to expansion of imports, this mysterious fruit faded away into the lands of the forgotten - at least for the large part of today's generations.

Lately however, thanks to the revival of local products, we are observing a renewed interest in the fruit and our aim is to learn more about it. It is already clear from what farmers recount, together with modern studies, that the health benefits of quince are not to be discounted - they include anti-inflammatory properties, treatment of stomach ailments, antioxidant properties... the list goes on...

photo by jeanette borg
'Merill' Quince Jam - photo by lindsey cauchi

If you're the hands-on type of person (and you manage to get your hands on some of this fruit, here's a recipe for quince jam I found on this great blog.

Have you tasted the jam... how would you describe it? Do you have some more information on this fruit? We would love to hear from you and learn more. Leave us a comment here below or connect with us on Facebook, Twitter or email.


  1. I have made the jam a couple of times and taste very good particularly if you add cinnamon and/or thyme to it. Can someone tell me from where to buy the fruit as I would like to make jam again.Farmers say that it is good for loose bowels. Just eat 1 tablespoon or spread some on toast.

  2. Hi Carmen, as you might already know it's not a common fruit, so it's best to ask around during the season... try at the Farmer's Market at Ta' Qali. If you don't manage you can always try our jam prepared by members from our Rural Network... we just had a new batch in!