Michaelmas Day at The Quince Tree

Michaelmas Day  at The Quince Tree and the michaelmas daisies are blooming,

There are mare's tails in the sky, cirrus uncinus,

and the quinces are ready.

They are particularly fine this year. Free from blemishes and smooth-skinned. The finest specimens are, alas, out of reach. Too high even for my super duper fruit picking device which you can see in action here. To be honest though, there are more than enough.

 I see I posted a to do list in that post from two years ago (I had no quinces at all last year). My to do list for this week is exactly the same; buy sugar, buy more jars and make quince jelly.

Yesterday I cooked a few of my quinces. First I washed off the fluff using a brush to get into the creases at the flower end of the fruits. Then I peeled them whole before quartering and coring. Taking the core out is very hard work, cookbooks often advise halving the fruit and scooping out the core. I find this impossible. It is easier to remove the core if you quarter them first. Even so I still managed to stab myself in the hand. The quince is not user-friendly.

You can see in the picture below how granular the flesh of the quince is. It retains some of this graininess even after cooking which is why my children are not terribly keen on them.

I poached the quince quarters in sugar syrup until soft. Cookbooks will tell you that quinces take a long time to soften turning a beautiful garnet red in the process. This is certainly true of the Turkish quinces I used to buy before I had my tree, but my quinces seem to soften very quickly without becoming red. A bit of a shame really.

Some of them became so soft I mashed them into a purée which will be lovely with thick yogurt or cream. I ate the whole slices with some of the syrup. Nobody else wanted any...sigh.

It occurred to me later that as we had eaten chilli con carne for supper I had in fact 'dined on mince and slices of quince'. I had no runcible spoon though.


  1. Looks lovely! Not tried quince before but it looks delicious x

  2. I've learned so much about quinces since finding your blog. I'd heard of them but never saw or knew much about them before that.

  3. What a lovely sense of fruition for your blog. I'm glad to be reminded of Michaelmas day and shall dash out to see whether I have anything left to harvest.

  4. I love that super thick quince jelly that the spanish have with cheese! No ideas on how to get the really high ones down - find a small and agile cat?!?!?! Hope that you have fun with your picking and making.

  5. you are so lucky to have such an abundance of quince, I have to buy mine! I planted a tree but it has died.

  6. and all that is left to do is to dance by the light of the moon!

  7. Hoping you have honey and plenty of money. And maybe someone who can shin up a ladder and get those last quinces for you.

  8. Anonymous3:52 pm BST

    It rained here yesterday, before the rain came in it was cloudy but dry and as the garden needed some attention, badly needed attention, I ran around like a crazy lady and today my back hurts! The Michaelmas Daisies were all closed due to the lack of sun! Still, the roast chicken dinner and apple and blackberry crumble for pud made it all worthwhile!

  9. Quince paste. Yummo. I pay a fortune for a small pot of that here.

  10. It's so nice to see that vivid blue sky in the background of your photos. I suspect I'd be the only one eating up the quinces in this household too... x

  11. I'd never set eyes on a quince before, so was very interested to see your photos - it's plums that have been dominating my foodie life this past month here on the Sparrowholding (just about to blog about 'plum trauma', in fact!) so quinces made an interesting change :-) Loved your poetic epiphany at the end!


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