A wild fruit that resembles apple and pear and is named quince or ayva in Turkish is native to the Anatolian region, as well as Greece, and also Crimean Peninsula. Turkey has it in a range of varieties, some of the most common are esme, bardak, ekmek, demir, and limon. Esme is the most widely cultivated in Marmara Province, whereas bardak is the most abundant in Kocaeli Province. Ekmek literally means bread and is the favourite of many owing to its less tangy flavour compared to other varieties. Demir is particularly hard, and hence comes its name meaning "iron", and limon has got its name from its yellow coloured skin. One of the most common and easiest ways to cook ayva in Turkey is to roast it over the charcoal and then split and eat it with a spoon. Quince pudding with clotted cream is one of favourite winter desserts in Turkey. In fact, the fruit is widely used in Turkish cuisine, and besides pastry and preserves, ayva is mainly prepared as a vegetable—it might be stuffed, added to salads, kebabs, meat stews, and other savoury dishes such as bulgur pilaf.
Turkish ayva harvest begins in September, and the fruit is available throughout winter, and some varieties like esme are good well to the end of March. However, the best season for fresh quince is considered the period from October to December.