Tuesday, 6 March 2012

summer harvest

We picked the quinces yesterday. I will stew them tomorrow and puree them and then stand by the stove for an evening or two stirring, like I did last year, but with fewer breastfeeding intermissions. Watching in wonder as the fruit turns from yellow to pink to dark, rich, ruby red. It is the closest thing to alchemy I have ever witnessed in my kitchen and we treasure each glistening square  - a year's supply of quince paste to adorn our cheese platters with the memory of summer's harvest.


The quince tree was the only one in our orchard garden to bear fruit as well as last summer. Last year I had peaches piled in bowls, baskets and bubbling away in bottles inside Grandma's old Fowlers Vacola. Apricots were dried and frozen and gorged upon in volumes unheard of. This summer the trees are resting, their blossom damaged by unseasonal rains and the parrots taking their share of the crop. We had enough to eat and enjoy for a week or two, but the quince paste will be the only taste of summer we will be packing between sheets of baking paper and taking with us into winter as autumn returns to the forest.


Already there is a chill in the morning air that speaks to me of Easter and childhood holidays spent camped along the south coast. Sleeping on a hessian camp bed with my sister rolling about in the bunk above, breakfasting on Rice Krispies and long life milk and hunting for Easter eggs in the sand dunes and granite headlands. We are savouring these last days of warmth as autumn's stillness settles over the land, plucking purple figs from the kids' climbing tree and eating handfuls of cherry tomatoes while we chat to the chooks. 

7 comments:

  1. Ooh. So jealous. I love quince paste! What a lovely blog you have. Your country life looks just beautiful.

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    1. Thank you Allison. I am enjoying scrolling through your pink fibro. I remembered your name from a story I contributed to in Marie Claire a few years' back. http://au.lifestyle.yahoo.com/marie-claire/features/world/article/-/5885801/i-gave-birth-completely-alone/
      The two Alisons caused the subs some confusion - and my family were sure the byline was wrong.
      Sorry for clogging up your friends list with the many faces of me - I am still trying to work out how to drive this blogging machine!

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  2. Oh yes! I remember. That was quite a story. Thanks for reminding me about it...

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  3. Quince! Quince paste, oh we love it in this house... Jellll-ous.

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  4. I love reading your lovely blog too now that I found you (well, you found me :) reminds me of SouleMama but even better because you're Australian, and I've met you!

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    1. oh, you are a sweetheart Maggie! I am looking forward to reading all about your holiday - I can't wait to get back over there this Christmas. xx

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  5. Hello Alison
    I've just discovered your blog via Foxs Lane.
    I love quince paste and those quinces look delish.
    Your blog is really lovely.
    Have a lovely weekend.

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Thank you so much for taking the time to leave a comment. I really do appreciate them all.