Tuesday, September 14, 2010

When Life Hands you Quinces

You turn to Google. Because somebody out there must know what to do with a fruit that looks like this.

This isn't actually one of mine. I cut mine up before realizing I really should get a picture. This is the first year I have gotten a crop (we'll use that term very loosely) of quinces from my young quince tree. But these are mine, stewing in a pot with water and lemon peel. 

I used an organic spray on the tree early in the season (Surround tm, a kaolin clay that is supposed to repulse hungry insects), but I guess I should have repeated it around the beginning of August. I lost a lot of fruit flesh to what looked like apple maggots (quinces are cousins to apples and pears, as well as roses). But hey, using up blemished fruit is what making preserves is all about.

So this is what my preserves looked like after I pureed the above mixture, added an equal volume of sugar, simmered it for an hour and a half, and then let is set up in a warm oven (however warm it is when I leave the light on) overnight.

I give you- membrillo! Well, my pathetic version of it anyway. It's apparently the national snack of Spain, and I must say, it is tasty. I don't happen to have any manchego cheese, which is traditionally eaten with it, but cream cheese and toast seem to go well with it.

I would describe the flavor as "floral honey"- very much like the wild honey I got from my bees before the neighbors made me get rid of them. The texture was a bit gritty, but that may be because I picked the fruit while it was still green. Hey, I had to pick it before the maggots got it all!

Tonight's adventure: convincing my children to eat it. 

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