Showing posts with label Heirloom fruit. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Heirloom fruit. Show all posts

Tuesday, 3 January 2012

Quince Paste

Written by Gavin from The Greening of Gavin and Little Green Cheese.

Any Cheese maker worth his salt should be able to whip up a few accompaniments for their cheese, so I gave it a go.  I stumbled upon a quince tree on a nature strip when walking around a country Victorian town called Talbot.  I asked the owner if I could take some, and he said "Take as many as you like mate".  Nice man.

I read somewhere that Quince paste was a really good complimentary flavour that goes with most cheeses.  Having never tried it before, it was a bit of a gamble, but one that paid off in the end.  The flavour is sensational, and I would recommend this fruit paste to anyone who is wondering what to do with a few spare quinces.

I found a recipe from and followed it exactly.  It worked fine, except that I added a full cup of water at the start because it looked like it was going to boil dry!  Pretty easy process.  Peel, core, chop, then stew.  After the chopped up quinces turned to mush, I blended them in the food processs whilst hot and then returned the fruit to the pot and added the sugar.

So that I could capture the long 3.5 hour process, I took photos at 15 minute intervals.

Quince Paste 091 Quince Paste 092
Quince Paste 093 Quince Paste 094
Quince Paste 095 Quince Paste 096
Quince Paste 097 Quince Paste 099
Quince Paste 100 Quince Paste 101

I just love the way it changes colour during the cooking process.

Then I lined 6 ramekins with plastic wrap and ladled in the paste, and when it cooled a little, we folded over the wrap to protect it as it set.

I left them on the kitchen counter overnight and we had some for lunch with a piece of ash coated brie and castello white cheese.  Unfortunately, these are not my creations, but tasted nice just the same.

The taste was great and it really brought out the flavour of the cheese.  A great accompaniments indeed.  I have found that it can be stored in the fridge, in the freezer or in a cold place as long as it is sealed like jam.

When it is quince season again (winter) then I will definitely be on the lookout for more backyard quince trees!

Monday, 30 November 2009

One pumpkin fits all

by Francesca

heirloom pumpkin
Early in October I harvested our one pumpkin. I chronicled the strange case of the heirloom pumpkin in my blog, explaining how we unexpectedly happened to grow it. Since then, I’ve learned from a reader that our large pumpkin is a Heirloom Neck Pumpkin.

This was one of the most effortless crops I’ve ever grown. I transplanted it in early July, watered it, and then just let it grow. It crawled slowly across and out of our garden, and eventually produced its single fruit. My €0.25 transplant produced a heirloom pumpkin which weighed 10.5 kilos, and provided the main ingredient of 4 dishes, which served a total of about 30 people.
halved heirloom pumpkin

Here’s how we used it:

~ Pumpkin soup ~
heirloom pumpkin soup ingredients
With barley, red lentils, cabbage, onion, garlic, dry(ing) peppers, dried sage and rosemary. I made a very large pot of it, enough for two meals for our family: a nice thick vegetable soup is most welcome on cold fall evenings.

~ Skillet-roasted pumpkin ~
roasted pumpkin
With fresh rosemary and garlic.

~ Stuffed pumpkin with sage-infused rice ~
heirloom pumpkin halved
stuffed pumpkin
I first boiled black and brown rice, adding six large sage leaves to the water. Then I mixed in cubed pecorino cheese, and used this mixture to fill the part of the pumpkin where the seeds are, which I’d split in half and scooped out. I set these filled bowls in the oven and baked them.

(I made this dish and the pie below for a dinner with friends: they served 10 people!)

~ Pumpkin pie ~
pumpkin pie
With Marsala sweet wine, pine nuts and raisins.
pumpkin seeds

So a single vegetable that grew from a €0.25 transplant yielded a surprising range of dishes. I even got a tasty snack out of it, because of course I saved the pumpkin seeds, sprinkled them with salt, and popped them into the oven to roast while the rice was baking.

What other wonder vegetables have you come across? Vegetables that are easy to grow, are abundant and can be used in a variety of dishes, savory and sweet?

Saturday, 15 August 2009

Making the most of a good harvest

by Throwback at Trapper Creek

The harvest season is reaching a high point at this point in the season. Hardy winter vegetables are putting on growth in the garden, and the first apples are coming in. Our first apple to ripen is the Yellow Transparent. I wrote about why I think this variety belongs in every frugal garden that is concerned with self-reliance here.

But, I also want to squeeze every bit of summer goodness out of these tart treats that I can. To do that, I only need to look back on methods that my mom taught me. Of course, we like to eat these juicy beauties out of hand, too. They aren't keeping apples, but they are great for fresh eating and cooking.

I prepared some for canning chunky applesauce.

Made a pie.

Apple pies are the easiest to make of all fruit pies. No thickener needed, I don't peel these either, just add seasoning to taste, dot with butter and bake.

In modern times we have become more wasteful, in the vein of convenience. Purchasing apples or fruit to make butters and sauces, not unlike making a modern day scrap quilt out of yardage, instead of the carefully saved snippets from sewing projects. Guilty of that one too!

So I literally called on memories of what my mom had taught me about waste not, want not. When she made her chunky applesauce, she would save the peels and cores and cook those down for apple butter. After cooking, she would run the cooked apple peelings and cores through the food mill, add spices and cook the apple butter down to a thick, mahogany treat.

I need extra canned goods for Christmas gifts and this would be a perfect way to add to my Christmas canning cabinet.

Normally, I would share these apple leavings with the hens and milk cow, but I saved some damaged apples for them and decided to see just what I could glean from about 12 pounds of apples.

While I was canning my applesauce, I put the pie in the oven, and cooked down the peelings. I had about a 5 quart saucepan of peelings and cores, I added two cups of water to prevent sticking, cooked these until soft and then ran them through the food mill.

This is all that is left of that small box of apples. The yield for apple butter was about 7 cups of sauce.

I always cook my apple butter and tomato sauce down in a crock pot, I never scorch it this way, and I can have the rest of my stove free for cooking. It is also a great way to heat up sauce in preparation for canning too. The sauce will get piping hot and be ready for your sterilized jars.

For apple butter, I added sugar and spices to taste. As it cooks over several days, it will thicken and get darker.

Cook to desired thickness and can for long term storage or gifts, or you could store this in the refrigerator for several weeks.

To can this apple butter, heat apple butter in crock pot and ladle into sterilized jars leaving 1/4 headspace, process 10 minutes in water bath canner.