Wow, it has been over five months since my last blog. Where did the time go?!
Of course the first thing that happened after I last posted was that fruit availability, which had been ramping up steadily, suddenly exploded: all of the quinces that are the mainstay of my business started to become ready at once. I have found that the best time to pick my own tree is a two (three at-a-push) week period in late September/early October, although outside the sheltered microclimate of my London garden the fruit ripens a couple of weeks later. Quince trees can be tremendously productive and my own, which is the variety ‘Meeches Prolific’, has been known to give a harvest of 150 kg of fruit – not for nothing is it called prolific! Without really trying too hard I was offered most of the fruit from another three trees and a few bags more besides, so for a good month I and a helper were occupied with picking, cleaning, preparing, cooking, pureeing and freezing the fruit.
During this time I was also lucky enough to also bring in a lot of cooking apples and, in November, a healthy quantity of medlars, the last fruit of the season. It had become apparent well before then that one freezer would not be enough!
[Picture: sugar and spice being mixed for a batch of spiced apple fruit cheese]