Quince; Cydonia oblonga is an ancient orchard fruit native to Asia minor. Cultivated since ancient times, the golden apple of the Old Testament was most likely a quince. The ancient Greeks revered the quince believing that the goddess Aphrodite brought the first quince tree to Greece. To this day a traditional Greek wedding is not complete without quince.
The flesh of the quince is hard and astringent, but cooking the quince releases fragrant aromatic phenols and oliphatic organic compounds that change the beige colored flesh to a deep amber. Quinces are loaded with pectin and fiber, have an abundance of vitamin C, and the B complex vitamins. Quinces rate highly for their antioxidant levels which help to protect the body from free radical damage and the risk of cancer. In addition, quinces and their products reduce body inflammation and help lower LDL cholesterol in the body.
Greek mythology associates the quince with Aphrodite, the goddess of love, and many believe that the golden apple given to her by Paris was a quince. Ancient Greeks associated the quince with fertility, and it played an important role in wedding celebrations. It was offered as a gift, used to sweeten the bride's breath before entering the bridal chamber, and shared by the bride and groom. Thanks to these associations, the quince has become known as the "fruit of love, marriage, and fertility."