A vintage crop this year
Is there a better shrub than quince?
It's virtually evergreen, flowers in the late spring and produces copious amounts of fruit by September. What's more quince jelly is delicious - and if a bit of a faff to make, it has a double benefit in that the leftover pith can be used to make membrillo or quince cheese.
This year we had so many quinces that we didn't bother with the cheese. After a weekend's bubbling and straining, we had over thirty jars of jelly. The first batch is strong and piquant; the other somewhat sweeter - just like me and Jane!
I find it interesting that there's been such a huge revival in crafting and home making. Who'd have predicted that some of the top-rating TV shows would be on sewing and baking - or Kirsty's Crafty Christmas for that matter! Maybe it's a recession thing, but it seems we can't get enough of 'make your own'.
And I guess that's a good thing in small measure.
Being candid, I'm not one of those who yearn for the good old days when we 'grew our own, baked at home and shopped from little village stores full of wonderful seasonal produce...' That image seems to me to be a nostalgic myth.
Like most folk I appreciate the convenience and choices of modern life, and I rejoice at how fortunate we are compared to past generations. While I have reservations about the power of big retailers (food and clothing especially) and am suspicious about the cost and quality of some of what we are offered (again, food and clothing especially) - frankly, I'd hate to go back to the limited produce, poorly stocked shops, and time-consuming processes that I remember from my childhood.
But that doesn't mean I can't see the delight in home produce too. Jane has long fancied the idea of keeping chickens for their fresh eggs - a good choice, but I wouldn't swap eggs for jam - and especially quince jelly; piquant or otherwise.