Friday, 29 May 2009

Quinces

I mentioned, in passing, the quinces that I had bottled recently.  I think it was last Monday.  
I am reminded of them when I heard a little comment on the radio just a little while ago.  The comment was that anyone born after about 1970 has never even eaten one!  What a pity!
I have a quince tree,  though it is still quite small and hasn't produced much yet.  I found a couple of boxes of them at the swap meet last weekend.  This is the time of the year that they are falling from the trees here, or being picked...  late autumn.
When I was small, we had a quince tree in our back yard. 
In those days,  everyone burned their rubbish in the backyard. We didn't have an incinerator. (Most people had one made of a 44 gallon drum.)  We burned our rubbish on the "rubbish pile" and someone had to stay and watch the fire, poking escaping bits onto the fire and making sure that it didn't actually spread.  I enjoyed that job.  At this time of the year, we would also be burning the fallen leaves from any deciduous trees and any "garden rubbish" in order to get rid of garden pests.  This is no longer allowed unless you live outside the town boundary.  
While I would be watching my fire, I used to pick up quinces from under the tree and "roast" them on a shovel.  The quinces used to turn red and taste wonderful, sweet and aromatic, even without sugar.  In fact, I even like them raw.  The perfumed taste of the roasted quinces is what I remember best.  It is unforgettable.
Here is the remainder of the box of quinces that I bought for $5 last weekend.
They are furry and green until they are ready to eat.  These are all fairly ripe and yellow and shiny now, and most of them have no bruises at all.  They can be funny lumpy shapes,  and keep really well just like this.  
I preserved some of them in syrup.  In the past,  I have been careful to peel them and cut them into more elegant shapes, but having so many,  I chopped them,  skin and all,  and cooked them in the water bath, in their preserving jars.  
We have eaten one jar of them already... to see whether the skin had ruined them or not.  It didn't.  The skin hasn't become tough in the way that apple skin can and that was what I had been worried about.   These are delicious, and I'll never bother to peel them in future.  They have turned a beautiful pinky red colour (below), and I'll process some more this weekend as well.
The syrup was 3lbs of sugar and 3.5 litres of water.  Sorry about the mix of units, but I have an old set of scales with weights in pounds and a new plastic jug that holds 5 litres to mix it all in.
If you find just one quince to try, cut it and stew it gently in syrup until is is soft and pink or red.  It will perfume the whole house as it cooks.
http://www.innvista.com/health/foods/fruits/quinces.htm

2 comments:

Fiona (posts by her mum and dad) said...

Our quince had a lot of flowers this year, perhaps We'll can some too.
Thanks for the recipe.
Love
Louise

Jane said...

Quince flowers are beautiful also. I should have posted some pictures. Even if there were no fruits, the trees are worth it for the flowers.