Monday, October 10, 2011

The Big Quince Harvest

Yesterday I picked 8 quinces from the tree in my back yard. Not only is this a big improvement in quantity over last year's harvest of two, but these quince are full-sized - over 4 inches (10 cm) in diameter. There were also an additional four quince that were too bug-eaten to keep, so next year I'm going to try the trick with putting nylon covers over the growing fruit to protect them.

Of course I now have a bunch of quince to work with, and will have to decide what to do with them.

I could make some of the recipes I've done in the past, like Chardquynce, Quince pie, or the ever popular Marmelade of Quinces. I could also try out something new, like connates perhaps.

Even more exciting though is that Cindy, having seen this year's crop, said she's now convinced that planting the trees wasn't a waste of time and money, and she's even willing to have another fruit tree in the back yard. So now I'm looking through my lists of Medieval Fruit Varieties trying to decide which tree would be the best addition.

For apples there are a couple of really good varieties that are readily available. The Old Pearmain sounds good, and dates back to the 1300s.

Old Pearmain apple

There's also the Rambour Franc and the Calville Blanc, both of which date to the 16th century.

There are fewer medieval pear varieties that are readily available. The Red Pear dates back to the 16th century, and the Barland to 1600.

There are some other options - plums, medlars, cherries - that are worth considering, though there aren't many of them that have varieties which are both readily available and known to be medieval.

I'll have to keep looking and see what else I can find.