Last year we were really, really late getting a supply of logs because it had taken an age to get our woodburner installed and we had to rely on our gas central heating. This year we wanted to be in good time. Towards the very tail-end of August we spoke to the wife of 'our man in the village' explaining that we'd like 10 stere of wood [10 cubic meters] delivered in September. We figured this would give us plenty of time to stack it while the weather was still mild.
Of course this is France, and things are a little 'flexible'. Madame phoned back mid September to say that things were now in the planning and our wood would be delivered either the weekend of the 1st or 8th of October, but we'd get a call a day or so before.
Thursday the 6th we duly got a quick call and at 8:15 last Saturday morning the first of the 2 trailer loads of wood arrived, followed by the second about an hour later. Although overcast, the weather has been mild so it was pretty pleasant working outdoors and we were able to fill the woodshed to the rafters--it will take about 4 stere and stack the rest into a neater woodpile than last year.
|botanical drawing of 'marmelo'|
October is the season for quinces. We have a very elderly quince tree and although rather spindly, it still produces fruits. Last year we got very few, but this year the tree gave us 2kgs worth. According to Wikipedia quince jelly is the original marmalade as the Portuguese word for quince is marmelo [from Latin melimelum (“sweet apple”)].
We have made various jams over the years: cherry, bramble, damson, and raspberry; but never jelly. We didn't have the 'kit' and it seemed too much palaver with bags having to drip overnight etc. In the past we have had a very prolific medlar tree--another fruit which makes great jelly. We used to give friends of ours who were very keen jelly makers the bletted [softened by frost and decay] fruit and got a few pots of medlar jelly in return.
Having a reasonable number of quinces this year we decided to give it a try ourselves as we know quince jelly is delicious. We found a simple recipe on a blog called the cottage smallholder.
|some of our quince jelly|
We still don't have the 'proper' kit but created an improvised jelly bag using a sterilised mesh bag [one of those you can use in the washing machine to keep delicates safe] to line a collander. We then drained the fruit pulp through this into a large mussel pan [nice and tall]. It seems to have worked. Although the jelly isn't crystal clear, it is jelly and not jam. We also got far more jelly than we expected and ran out of jam jars and had to press a large preserving jar into service to cope! It should go very well with lamb, pork and blue cheese.
You already have a lot of lodgs
I love quince jelly, but haven't had any for years...
It always amazes me when we are in France to see just how much wood people in the country stockpile -- and that there is enough wood to go around!
I've seen a straining kit in Lakeland plastics. Should you feel your improvised method needs to be improved, you could always take a look on your next visit to the UK or do an online chop via yours truly!(is there an e in the middle?)
Your method looks good enough to me, though!!
zal jampotjes voor jullie gaan sparen....
And quince 'cheese' with the pulp?
@baliboy - welcome! We need a lot of wood to heat the house in the winter.
@Broad - if you'd left the Quercy a bit later you could have stopped by for a jar.
You need quite a lot to heat a house. We also have a woodpile that is not yet seasoned. But our stocks are titchy compared to many French farms!
@Gaynor - our method was pretty mess free ... but if we want to 'do it properly' may invest in Lakeland gaget.
Supporting France this weekend then?! ;-)
@Ida - nou was handig geweest!
@fly - not this 1st time of making as we didn't core or de-stalk before boiling. But certainly something to do next time :-)
Looks delicious. We made a batch one year (we = Ken) from our neighbors' quite large quince tree. The tree has since fallen and been removed, so we haven't seen many quinces of late. But a few weeks ago, Ken discovered a small tree in a neighboring lot...
@Walt - we hope it will taste as good as it looks... :-)
we've actually found a second 'hidden' in over-grown hazel bushes [size of trees]. So we're going to have to deal with them 1st and then see if we can bring the quince back into good order--it is VERY spindly. Only realised it was there when we found 2 fruits when stacking the woodpile.
I simply love jelly, on a slice of buttered toast or as an ingredient in wild boar stew. It gives the stew a nice sweet/sour touch. Your jelly looks delicious. Did Katinka get to lick the bowl after you were done putting the jelly in jars? :) Martine
@Martine - oh a good dollop in wild boar stew sounds delicious!! Katinka wasn't that interested; but both she and Shadow adore licking out fruit yogourt pots, even lemon ones...
You will not get such good jelly if you core and peel. To make quince cheese with the contents of the jelly bag run it through a food mill to remove the seeds etc. I've just made jelly (thanks T&P for the loan of the Lakeland gear) and have prepped pulp ready for making cheese. Yumbo.
@Susan - we'd been tipped off about not coring/peeling [our medlar jelly friends]. Don't have food mill so the cheese making wasn't really an option.
Using our improv version of a jelly bag we got ever so slightly cloudy jelly.
I didn't core and peel...just passed the stuff through a sieve.
I must say I don't miss the annual wood corvee!
@fly - I bet you don't!! Though it's a great free aerobics session ;-)
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