This one’s for Suleiman

Quince paste is drying in a slow oven. It’s taken 18 months to get to this point and the entire venture started as an accident. The recipe used to make it is problematic and the result is proving stubbornly sticky to the touch. Yet it’s so damn delicious that I’d proudly serve it to Suleiman the Great.

When the bare root sapling that provided the quinces was planted as part of a fruit tree allee in the winter of 2010, the plant tag read “Santa Rosa plum.” When the plant that subsequently flowered, leafed out and fruited looked like a Dr. Seuss cartoon of an apple tree, it was clear that this was no plum. The Seuss fruit was a quince.

Raw, quinces are odd and unappealing. The form is bulbous, the skin fuzzy, the body disarmingly hard and light, and the flesh a dry maze of what seems like

Old soldier driven to drink

What passes for gardening in Los Angeles is a study in waste. Is "urban farming" the answer? One water wonk with four big citrus trees takes the question and many wheelbarrows worth of fruit to a new farmers market to find out.
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    Emily Green by e-mail at emily.green [at] mac.com
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