Temperate Fruit & Orchards > Temperate Fruit Discussion

Karp's Sweet Quince, and other Quince for eating raw

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Is anyone here growing 'Karp's Sweet' Quince? (It's supposedly the best variety for eating raw, but only when grown in warm climates like Southern California)

I have a tree but it has not produced fruits yet. And I haven't heard any updates from anyone else about this variety for several years.
Anyone growing it and can comment on the fruit?

By the way, if you're in a more northern climate, the best varieties are probably Krimskaya and Aromatnaya, the latter of which is a bit softer but not as good flavor.

Quince has an amazing aroma, for those of you who may not know, and the flavor of the raw fruit is unique. Of course, quince is usually dense, spongy, and most often too astringent to eat raw. It's important to point out though that some varieties are better than others in this regard, and the level of ripeness which the fruit attains can make a big difference. Trying to eat raw quince is not for everyone, but supposedly the variety Karp's Sweet could change all that. In Latin American countries quince is typically sliced very thin and served with a chili vinegar sauce with crushed peanuts. I also think the quinces grown in Latin American countries tend to be less astringent than the traditional normal American varieties, but that could just be the warmer climate. It's hard to know since quince in Latin America are very often heirloom varieties grown from seed.

I don't grow any quince myself, but I have bought and eaten the ones you can eat raw on the market and I think they are good. but I like a lot of fruit  ;D

This year I have been cooking all quinces I bought into jelly, 'membrillo' and 'applebutter', which is my favorite so far for this fruit. So I am actually more inclined to look for the ones you can cook... I have never tried the thin slices with chili, but I'll definitely do that...

The quince jelly is so flavorful, though, that I would grow apples and pears for eating out of hand, and quinces for making jellies.

While France is famed for its quince, I would not think you would find the quince that is suitable for eating raw there. From what I've heard, the softest least astringent varieties come from the area around the Black Sea (in Russia, and maybe to a lesser extent Turkey) and in Latin America (Mexico, Argentina, Uruguay, Venezuela, Peru). Climate also makes a big difference, quince ripens most fully in warm climates with long summer heat, that's when the quince will become its softest, most aromatic, least astringent, and sweetest. The south of France is certainly not a bad place to grow quince, but it's not as good as somewhere like Mexico.

Probably the best one out of the ordinary varieties for trying to eat raw, and the one I suspect you have eaten, is "Orange" quince. While it's not terrible for eating raw, it's not as palatable as Aromatnaya (Russian variety from the Black Sea). Karp's Sweet (which originated from the Majes valley in Peru) is supposed to be on a whole different level, very close to the level of a Granny Smith apple, when it's at its best (grown somewhere like Southern California or Mexico). 

The idea of eating quince raw is new to the French, yes. The quinces from Serbia and around the Black Sea are supposed to be edible raw, but there is no verdict yet on their taste if they are grown in this region. The two varieties I know of that some people are growing in France are Miagkoplodnaja Wolgogradskaja and Aromatnaya, with the first one reportedly much better than the last...

What's the chill hour requirement? Can it be grown in a chill-free zone? I know that's the case with low-chill apples, pears and stonefruit, with an up to 200 hour requirement (the lower the better), but I'm not sure about Quince.


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