There’s never any doubt when the quinces are ready for picking. Just in the last week the fruit have started to exude their delicious and distinctive scent. I’ve picked some already to bring indoors and enjoy the smell while I plan what to do with them. It’s a bumper crop, I’ve counted over a hundred fruit on the tree so I will have to employ some ingenuity to make sure none are wasted. As a last resort I will offer those I can’t preserve on my local freecycle website.
Quince Ratafia is as easy as it is delicious – wash the quinces, chop roughly and pack into a large jar, pour in sugar to half way up the jar and then fill it with cheapest supermarket vodka. Seal the jar, give it a good shake and stand it in a cupboard or larder. Give it a shake when you remember. By Christmas it will a fragrant amber liquid to drink with puddings or use to make a Quince Kir. I will make enough ratafia to give some to friends as Christmas presents using sloe gin bottles (£3.98 each from Lakeland).