rain with quinces

In the evening of this humid day I was cooking, and waiting for my computer guy, who never came… Rain began to fall about 5:00, but the air is mild, so I opened the windows wider so as to smell the indescribable and rare scents of these early rains. When you live where the whole summer is dry, often for five months, the first showers of fall are especially delicious.

I was peeling and cutting up the smallest quinces I’ve ever seen, and surely they are the most rock-like. For years I’ve been on the lookout for neglected quince trees, which I know used to be common, when I didn’t have time to experiment with them. Last month I was invited to go with my new neighbor Kim up in the hills to pick fruit at her friend’s estate. The word was, the fig trees were loaded.

When we arrived, we found that the figs were mostly not ripe. Passing over the monster zucchini, we picked kumquats that turned out to be more sour than lemons, a few apples and pears, and these dwarf quinces. Note to self: tiny quinces are not a good deal.

I interrupted my tedious quince prep to make tomato soup for dinner, using roasted cherry tomatoes of every color, preserved in the freezer from a distant summer, and other hoarded tomato treasures. Then I decided not to eat my garlicky soup after all, because I am going to the dentist tomorrow. I munched on a few handfuls of sunflower seeds.

Then it was back to the quinces: At this point they have been poaching for a good hour, and did get soft, but they are more sour than the kumquats, reminiscent of rhubarb, in spite of me adding extra extra sugar. Now I’m wondering if the tree they came from was some kind of sport — but no, there was more than one tree….

So many of my thrifty cooking projects lately have ended up terribly time consuming, but at least today I was able to feel appropriate to the fallish weather, in my efforts to use the garden harvest. The fresh and damp air was such a tonic that only laughing, not grousing, seemed natural. When I took this picture, a light rain was watering the earth.


9 thoughts on “rain with quinces

  1. What a lovely picture of the garden and of course, it’s raining! We are expecting rain soon. I think it looks like it’s moving on past to Porterville and up that way. My Mom always used her quince to make stuff to make jam. I have no idea how she did and and I wish I had paid attention. It was lovely for jam though.

    Too bad the figs weren’t ripe. Now nice you have a new neighbor to go do things with.

    I don’t know if I wrote you, I have been sick, but congrats on your new grandbaby.

    Ours will be making his appearance one month, his due date is today, but she is always early. I will be in Tucson soon. I believe the bread making lady lives there that is your friend right?

    Have a lovely day.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. The word quinces is a lovely word, but I am just not familiar with them. As I was reading your post I got to the part about you stopping to make tomato soup, and I had to stop right then to go prepare lunch for husband that is home today! I smiled. “Interruptions are king at my house.” Anyway, was anxious to get back and read more. Interesting. What are you going to do with them? Quince Pie?

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Too bad your quinces turned out to be small and needing sweetening. I have never tasted quince nor Kumquat, for that matter. Do you make jam with them?

    You garden looks calm and orderly. I must get more mulch and also make sure there’s space between my plants. I tend to plant too many too close together.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I don’t eat jam, so I didn’t really want to make jam from the quinces. The one time I ate them they were simply baked like a baked apple, and delicious. A classic way to eat quinces is just slice, poached in simple syrup. Put them on cereal or ice cream, etc. These broke down so much while cooking that I ended up just using the immersion blender in the pot and then I froze the purée, which I thought I might serve to the grandchildren for pancakes…? But even after all the sugar I added, it is perhaps too tart even for that. Perhaps applesauce cake? I hate to toss it, but it may be good for little else. 😦


  4. Gardens are especially lovely in the rain. We had a few mornings in a lovely mist. Very unusual for Oklahoma. During the a.m. dog walk I could remember those mornings in the Bay Area. I love the fine mist on my face. I have never tasted a quince.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I adore quinces, the colour is just sublime when cooked. I especially love quince paste with cheese and crackers. We have a storm brewing just now over the ridge and a rainy weekend is forecast. There’s nothing like rain for a garden! Meg:)

    Liked by 1 person

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