About eight years ago I bought a tiny baby fruittree, a quince. I had just tasted membrillo, a spanish jelly, made of quinces, traditionally eaten wit a strong and smelly sheep-cheese called manchego. It was so delicious, and I got curious about the quinces (kweepeer in dutch). They are a funny kind of fruit, looking like a knobbly pear but a bit furry. They were very unknown and the shops didn’t sell them.
So I planted the tree in an alotment, about ten kilometeres from my house. The one year later, we had to change alotments and the tree came along. But one year later again, we had to leave the alotment entirely and I put the tree in my frontyard at home.
So there it grew into something that started to look like a tree and it began to finally make fruit. Three years ago I think there was about a kilo of quinces growing on the tree, but they got stolen before they got to ripen.
Two years ago I think there was about three kilo, but again, someone beat me to it!
So eight years, and I had never eaten anything from that tree! Nothing! I was getting frustrated.
So this year, I was on the case! The tree was full of great looking fruit and I had my heart set on finally making my own membrillo. I picked the quinces a little early, but they seemed okay. And I made a delicious jelly and the whole house smelt delicious, like spicy applesause with cinammon for hours.
One week later I walked out the door and the whole tree was gone! Instead there was a guy digging a hole. Something cable…he said. I asked for the tree and he pointed. He had dug it out and had left hardly any roots on it for it to grow back. It was an ugly scene; I was upset and ungracious, he was a guy in a uniform who was just doing his job and who wasn’t at all interested in trees, furry pears and smelly sheep cheeses.
He cosmeticly put the tree back in its place where it seems to dying now. I get sad looking at it. I hope it will use the winter to grow back some roots. Fingers crossed! So…probably no pears again in 2016. But oaky…at least I got to make something with my own homegrowm quinces this once! Which I’m glad for, cause it’s delicious!
This is how I made the jelly:
I wiped the fur of the skin of the quinces with some kitchen paper. Then I cut them in four parts and cut out the stones. I put them in a pan with some water (just covering the quinces) and bring it to a boil. Let it simmer for an hour or two/three, Stirr often. Add one third or half of the weight of the fruit in sugar, depending on how sweet you like it. Pour the jelly into desinfected jars, put the lid on and turn the jars upside down to cool.