Thursday, 18 November 2010

A little bit of September in November

    The last piece of fruit-related madness on these pages for a while, in the last couple of days I've harvested the last couple of late-fruiting trees. Quinces, and a late keeping apple called French Crab. There's something just a little mad about standing on a ladder in the middle of a tree in a November fog picking fruit with frost on their skins.
    My mother planted the quince decades ago. She had never had one and was hugely disappointed with what she got. They add flavour to apple pies, but she didn't particularly like it. Meanwhile the tree kept producing huge crops which largely went to waste. I tried a bit in some cider but never again, they impart a very weird flavour once fermented. Fortunately a few years ago she discovered quinces make a rather nice marmalade so they're in demand once more. Hence my climbing the ladder and risking life and limb in the frost.
    My wife's away at her mother's place for a couple of weeks, so I'm as foggy as the November day around our quince tree. Fruit, its culture and processing, is one of my escapes, something I know intimately and am in control of. I have a few such pursuits, the Rusty Old Wreck is another of them, and at times I need to immerse myself in them to avoid going potty. I need my wife to step off the plane and find her bloke waiting for her.


  1. I like the smell of quince. I've made quince jelly, but if I ever get round to it again I'll have a go at making membrillo. I guess that the frost will help soften them up?

  2. I don't think dynamite would soften those fruit up!

    We've never tried membrillo with our quinces. I believe my mother may have made quince jelly once in a desperate attempt to find a use for them.

    Annoyingly there were quite a few fruit that remained out of my reach.

  3. I've never had a quince either. It looks like a pear, which I love, but their shape must be all they have in common. Could you use them in chutney?

    Melissa XX

  4. Mad dogs and Englishmen go out in the midday sun and it seems mad women go picking quinces in mid-November! I hope you enjoy the marmalade! Love

    Shirley Anne xxx

  5. @Melissa, it's a hard fruit with a sharp but not sour fruity flavour and as Dru says a nice fruity smell that's hanging in the air from the box of quinces as I type this. The core in the middle is very hard, so preparing them can be a bit of a chore. I'm sure they'd make a fine chutney.

    @Shirley Anne, Anyone saner would have harvested them a few weeks ago!

  6. I don't know why, but I love this post and I love the picture. I guess it is just a momentary diversion from the never ending thoughts of other things...

  7. You understand the lure of tending fruit as a mind-occupier.