They may look like their relatives, apples and pears, but quinces are much healthier and may actually help ward off the flu. With twice the vitamin C of its native relatives, quinces are also high in antiviral phenolic compounds that have been found to combat the influenza virus. The Chinese quince variety has the highest levels of those flu-fighters, but you'll also get some benefit from California's Pineapple quinces and the East Coast's Orange and Smyrna varieties. The short quince season lasts from September until December. To find them, check out Latino, Asian, and Middle Eastern markets, specialty grocers, and farmer's markets. The fruits taste best when cooked, so add them to long-cooked savory stews or roasts or use them in any dish that calls for cooked apples or pears.
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