Sunday, 11 September 2011

Day of the damson

Operation Plum Cascade is now pretty much over, but the damsons remain.  Today will see them picked, pulped, jammed and otherwise converted into stuff-what-we-will-consume.  As I've mentioned, they are not easy to prepare.  Only by cooking will you ever extract those stones.

Damsons fall into that exciting category of fruit that it's nice to have, but troublesome to deal with.  Others are quinces and medlars.  Both are old-fashioned fruits for which there is little real use, but they have considerable charm.  Quinces take preparation to new heights of difficult.  They are rock like, even when ripe.  The Victorians used them as a moth repellent and to add a pleasing scent to clothes and bed linen and I can see why as they're all but indestructible.  The only time I've ever prepared them, I wrecked our kitchen cleaver.  Still, they have an allure.

Medlars are even stranger.  Here you have a fruit that you have to pick and allow to rot before it can be eaten.  This process is called bletting.  It a slightly arcane feel to it which I find irresistible.

And of course, this is the time of year to be ordering bare root fruit trees.  Tempting, very, very tempting.

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