Sorry, nothing to do with the yarn! I know this is meant to be a knitting blog of sorts, so apologies for the digression. I haven’t really done a lot of knitting this past week, since we have been primping and pimping our flat in order to get it onto the market. All those jobs, left undone for literally years, have been compressed into a few days, and I am ashamed to say that some of them took five minutes and very little effort. But such is life…?
The tiny harvest above comes from a shrub in my garden: the Japanese quince (Chaenomeles). You might have one in your garden, and never really give it a second thought except when you see bright crimson or pink flowers on its bare stems in February. It’s the earliest plant to flower and sort of gives you a bit of hope just as you are desperate for spring to arrive. (Don’t zzzzzz, I do like gardening but I also like booze. Keep reading.)
In autumn, these small fruits begin to ripen to yellow. Bring them inside and sit them in a bowl in a warmish room, go away and bleach the grout in the bathroom or something equally fascinating, then come back into the room and inhale deeply. The scent is amazing. It’s like a citrussy tropical fruit mixed with a few sprigs of mint and orange flower.
You can if you want to cook them up and make jam or membrillo (quince paste for eating with cheese…usually made with the other sort of quince, the tree fruit which smells similar). Then I read about a sort of Japanese liqueur called karinshu. The recipe looked like my sort of recipe: chop quinces, add sugar, add vodka, leave for months, shake occasionally.
Aren’t they pretty? I cannot emphasise how easy this all was. I am not really adept at writing foodie posts which romanticise the recipes. Here is a photo of the amount of sugar you need:
Behind that jar is a tub of varnish stripper. My next job is renovating our charity shop ex-church chairs. I don’t think this will sell our house, but while I’m on a roll I’m going to get it done.
And here is the whole thing, nestling on a shelf, out of the sun and settling in for the next three months at least. This means we might have delicious sweet-and-sour vodka for the New Year. The quince-lets were about the size of plums, and to that dish worth I added one cup of sugar and two cups of vodka.
None of the blogs I looked at have updated with a report on how the stuff actually tastes. I will. I aim to be helpful. And after all that effort (ha!) it had better be good. If it isn’t, all is not lost, because next year what I shall do is take them indoors and sit them in bowls and just inhale. (More than I usually do, I mean.)
Update, 9th December: It’s wonderful stuff. We tried it last night and can report that one shot over ice tastes a little sweet, a little perfumed, a little sour, very complex and fruity. It’s like tasting a new cocktail; you take a sip and immediately start trying to identify the ingredients. Will definitely make more of this!