Fruits and vegetables provide health benefits and are important for prevention of illness. Fruits contain a variety of nutrients including vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. Fruits are naturally low in fat, sodium and calories and rich in fiber, vitamin C, potassium and folate. Some high potassium fruits include peaches, honeydew and oranges etc. Fiber in fruit help to prevent heart diseases. It is necessary to eat a variety of types and color of produce to give your body the mix of nutrients it needs. Try to eat dark leafy greens, brightly colored red, yellow and orange fruits and cooked tomatoes.
Quince is a hard and acidic pear-shaped fruit used in preserves or used as flavoring. Botanical name of quince is Cydonia oblonga. Its family is Rosaceae. In urdu this fruit, is called as Safarjal or bahhi. Quince is only the fruit whose zikar is found in Hades. In Ibn-e maja, Holy prophet (saw) has said eat this fruit as it reduces heart attack and said, this is the fruit which was brought from Janna and non-of Prophet had not passed who did not use this fruit. Its growing region are Azad Kashmir, Sawat, Merdan and Murree. This fruit was famous in Sham and available in Pakistan. Quince is a small deciduous tree similar in appearance to a pear. Tree grow 5 to 8 m high, leaves are arranged alternately, flowers produce in spring after the leaves are pink or of white color with five petals. Weight of quince fruit is 250 to 750 g or more in some verities. fruit found in September and in October. Top producers of quince are Turkey, China, Morocco, Iran, Spain, Algeria and Serbia. One of the immense importance about quince is this, when a baby born in Balkans, then quince tree is planted as a symbol of fertility, love and life. Quince are propagated from hard wood cutting should be about 25 cm long taken during late autumn or early winter period. This is most convenient method of propagation, but the disadvantage is that the resultant trees tend to produce suckers. Quince seedling used for rootstock and it have the advantage that the trees will not produce sukers. Moreover, quinces are propagated sexually and a sexually. When propagated sexually then quince seedlings should be desire, quince seed is extracted from mature fruit, cleaned, stratified and should be stored in cool dry place. When propagated a sexually then multiple plantlet grown from shoot tissue taken from single plant resulting in identical clones this method is preferred for rootstock development. Seedling grown in full sun, partial sun, and pH should be acid neutral.
Soil drainage should be well drained, soil type is preferred best as clay loam, its growth rate is slow, drought tolerant, average tolerant, habit is oval rounded. Its seasonal interest is spring, summer, fall winter. Quince is very adaptable it grows in a wide range of soil types light and dry soil condition should be avoided. Heavy and moist soils are suitable for quince slightly acidic soils are preffered for quince because quinces are susceptible to iron deficiency under alkaline conditions. Some wind breaks such as planted windbreak is desirable. For storage of quince select fruits that are large, firm and yellow with little or no green picked when quince is full yellow and firm, it should be handle carefully as they bruise easily. Raped quince in a plastic bag and refrigerate them for up to 2 months. Quince can also be stored at homes if it stored in cool dark place away from heat and humidity for a several weeks. For harvesting experts says that harvesting begin when color changes from dark to light green color usually in fall most quinces do not ripen on trees instead they ripen during cool storage only undamaged fruit should be picked. For fresh fruit market smaller size quinces are packed in fiberboard carton but the generous size quinces may not have fitted in tray packs they can be fitted in a single layer tray care must be taken when loose filling.
For marketing quince is sold fresh at local farmers, market, can also be found in grocery stores. Quince is a re- emerging fruit crop in United States. Quince fruits are pruned on the tips of shoot made during the previous year they do not form fruiting spur, prune and train is done in dormant season. For good cropping prune every winter when growth can be thinned to improve light penetration and air circulation. Remove crowded branches very vigorous shoot, and branches showing little growth. There are number of edible quinces to be chosen from Portugal best flavor fruit, pear shaped, deep golden yellow color, more vigorous from another cultivar but it is less hardy. Meech s prolific also pear shaped, bright golden yellow color, very good in flavor, flowers are large and growth is vigorous. Ripening period for quinces are early summer- June, midsummer-July, late summer- august, early fall-September, mid fall- October. For quince if irrigation is insufficient then the fruit may drop prematurely at least 1-inch water is necessary each week for growth and fruit production.
Fertilizing tips for quinces is that when planting then do not put fertilizer in a planting hole. Fertilize no more than 2 times each year beginning in March or no later than July. Yield of quinces is 25 to 35 tones fruit per hectare. Varieties of quinces are, Aromatnaya, Kuganskaya, Smyrana, and VAN Demon. Like all others fruits some diseases also occur on quinces and attack of insects are also common for example diseases are black spot, fleck is common and insect are borer, fruit fly, codling moth, scales, rust etc.
Now there are great uses of quinces. Reduce appearance in wrinkles and improve health skin. Boost immune system. Protect skin against harmful effect of UV radiation. Stimulate and improve health of hairs follicles. Prevent cardiovascular disorder and cancer. Aids in reducing excess weight by improving digestive health. Quince is good for pregnant woman if she eats it from start can give birth to a beautiful child. Quince helps in controlling blood pressure. Quince juice is beneficial for peoples suffering from gastric ulcers. Quince when mixed with honey help in treating colitis, diarrhea, constipation. Boiled or baked quince relieves nausea and vomiting. Quince is beneficial for those suffering from liver and eye diseases. Quinces are used to make jellies, jams, quince cheese can also be prepared. Moreover, quinces are also used in medicines. Quince is a rich source of vitamin C, zinc, potassium, copper, iron and dietary fiber. Quince is rich in certain organic compound like catechin, limonene and various other phytonutrients which contribute to our health. We should use different genotypes of quince for the better production and yield. Use cultural practices like pruning, thinning, irrigation and fertilizers to get high quality products.
This article is collectively authored by Rabia Zulfiqar, Mujahid Ali, Dr. Rashad Mukhtar Balal (Department of Horticulture, College of Agriculture, University of Sargodha)