Tag Archives: quince

Quince

Quince (not to be confused with “quints” – a set of five children born at the same time) is an unusual shrub. It flowers prolifically. The fruit looks like small wrinkled up yellow apples.

There are several kinds of quince and I’m not sure which kind I have in my back yard. I thought there was only one kind of quince bush until I tried to find out more about it. It’s possible that mine is a flowering quince because the fruit is smaller than that of some other types.

Here is my quince bush in April, just beginning to get blossoms.

Now, in May, the flowers have opened up and the whole bush is loaded in lovely blossoms.

Last year in the fall I took some pictures of the quince fruit as it was still ripening on the shrub. The fruit was smaller than the size of a golf ball, which is why I wonder if the shrub is an ornamental variety. Pictures of quince I found in recipes online are a bit bigger.

Nevertheless, I made jam from this bitter fruit.  I strained the juice after cooking the quince and then added the sugar to make jam, so there were no seeds or peels in it. While you wouldn’t try to eat quince raw — too astringent — the jam was pretty good.

Do you know something about quince that you would like to share with us?

Harvest Time

It seems that fall is sneaking up on us. The nights are fresh and there’s a hint of dew on the ground in the mornings. The mountain ash berries are ripening, ready for desperate robins who come back down from berry-filled hills after the harvest, looking for anything left to eat. 004

Walnuts tell us it’s fall, as they near full size. They’ll leave an awful mess of walnut stain when the outer shell breaks open to reveal the brown nut inside. Wear gloves when you pick them or you’ll have stained fingers worse than the heaviest smoker ever had.

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This apple must be the one Eve offered to Adam. It’s the sweetest and juiciest of apples, the Gravenstein.008

Smaller than the Italian prune plum are the damsons. They’re sweet and tarty, perfect for eating or making jam.

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Then there are the yellow plums (which actually still look quite greenish when they’re ripe). They are really juicy, they don’t keep long, and are best eaten right away or made into jam.  017

The red Anjou pear is delicious and looks great with the peel still on when sliced onto a dessert.016

The Wilmuta apple is a cross between Jonagold and Gravenstein. It ripens in October and keeps well. Sweet and juicy, it’s a perfect late season apple.

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And what is this weird-looking thing? Mini squashes on a shrub? It’s quince. The shrub has beautiful red-orange blooms in the spring and then bears this fruit about the size of crab apples. When they’re yellow the quinces are ripe. I don’t recommend trying to eat them but they make a good jam of the marmalade style.

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Let’s hear it for the old standby – MacIntosh apples. What’s not to like?
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The hazelnuts are nearly ripe too. I’ve learned not to get too excited about the first ones that fall off the tree when those fall winds start to blow. Usually they are the duds, so don’t waste you time husking and drying them. Later, there will still be plenty of good ones. If you’re not too impatient and don’t mind risking losing them to steller’s jays and raccoons, you can pick the nuts up without the husks which come off more easily as the nuts dry. 021

And of course there’s nature adding to my planted efforts, providing blackberries for free. It’s a huge crop this year. 023 I really would like some help with all this harvesting and so far I’ve had one volunteer. Ruby is doing her best to brave the prickles. Tells you how good these blackberries are!026

Clinging to Life

It’s the harshest time of year. In the Pacific Northwest, the moisture in the air may not always be in the form of snow, but it can feel just as cold. We may not have to worry about frostbite, but we shiver just the same.

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This rose bloomed because the cold weather was late in arriving.

016While it clings to life, its buddy is already succumbing to the effects of icy rain and wind, its leaves sick with damp diseases.

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But the tenacity of this fruit amazes me. No, these are not apples, but rather quince hanging on for dear life.

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Some new buds were fooled into trying to open, but it’s way too soon. I just hope they don’t get snowed on before spring finally comes. Meanwhile, they’ll continue as long as they can, to cling to life.

I am encouraged by the fact that the days are getting longer now, even if it is only by minutes a day. And like the quinces, I too,cling to life, but I prefer to do it bundled up in my blankets while I read in my recliner.

 

Hope Springs Eternal

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Hope springs eternal in the human breast;
Man never is, but always to be blessed:
The soul, uneasy and confined from home,
Rests and expatiates in a life to come.

– Alexander PopeAn Essay on Man

I know these lines are not about spring, but I’ve been hoping for spring to come for so long that when the words got a bit jumbled in my brain, I thought of this poem. Pope has me totally confused with his big words all thrown into four lines seemingly at random, but I gather that he too, was waiting, hoping, for something.

I thought maybe the words would make more sense if they were realigned a bit to say:

Hoping for spring eternally is this human beast,

Just when she thinks it’s coming, the day warms up the least.

Her soul is uneasy, inactive too long,

Oh why is the weatherman always wrong?

—  Anneli W.(without) Hope, from “A Messy-Essay of a Woman”

I’m hopeful though. Spring is a time of new beginnings, a time for love. And here are two lips just for you. I found this tu-lip in my garden today.

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And here is a shrub that thinks it is quintessential to bringing spring. The quince bush. I started out with one plant but it has definitely had at least quints since I planted it.

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And now, here comes my punishment for being so pessimistic about the late arrival of spring. No, that is not Mount Fuji. This mountain of a cloud came to tower over my house just to remind me not to get too happy about the bit of (cold) sunshine we had today. No mountain is hiding under that cloud. It is all rainwater, waiting for me to say the word when I want my flowers and my new cedar hedge watered. Notice the cloud is white though? That’s so I don’t lose heart altogether about spring’s impending arrival.

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May it come soooooooooooon!