Monday, 4 May 2009

Cooking the quinces

Here are the quinces growing in my garden. I had only a few this year because the tree is very young. These are the last of my autumn fruit.

I bought some more quinces from the Farmers Market in neighbouring Buninyong so I'd have enough for quinces baked in honey and for some jars of quince jelly. These are a much larger and deeper yellow variety than the quinces in my garden.

I love quinces. My mum and my grandma both made excellent clear red quince jelly from the old quince trees that were a so common in gardens in my childhood. Ripe quinces smell exquisite, and quinces seem to be able to produce generous amounts of fruit in even the harshest years.

This is the casserole my mum always used to bake her quinces in a honey and sugar syrup. Quinces take five slow hours to bake in a very gentle heat. I tend to add a couple of rose-scented pelargonium leaves in the last hour.

I have two varieties of Rose pelargonium growing, this one has a slight hint of lemon in its rose. I use the leaves to scent pot pourri, fill vases in the house, and add them to custards, sponges, cooked fruit and jellies.

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