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Gardener and Gourmet Newsletter

Want to know what's good in the market right now? Check this new feature in each issue. We evaluate the local market for seasonal produce, and spotlight the best.

November's chill is accompanied by the first appearance of several under-appreciated fruits. Quince are particularly appealing, with their special fragrance. Long cooking brings out the best in them, unlike many fruits. This makes quince an ideal subject for a do-ahead dessert. To prepare, peel and core the quince, reserving the peel and core. Drop the fruit into acidulated water to prevent browning. In a saucepan large enough to hold the fruit in one layer, placed the peeled fruit. Add the trimmings, wrapped in a cheesecloth bundle for easy removal later, and a suitable poaching liquid and seasonings. Simple sugar and water mixtures are fine, or use wine for all or part of the liquid. Herbs and seasonings such as clove, cinnamon, vanilla, citrus zests, peppercorns and tarragon all work well with quince. Bring to a simmer and poach until the fruit is tender, about half an hour. Cool in the liquid, discarding the cheesecloth bundle. (Adding the peel and core helps bring out the lovely pink color of the quince.) Transfer the fruit to a bowl and reduce the poaching liquid to a syrup, then pour over the quinces. Allow to cool and serve at room temperature or store for a day or so, covered and refrigerated.

Other interesting fruits now available are hardy kiwi, a grape-like treat that lacks the fuzzy skin of its tropical cousin. These are best eaten fresh or incorporated, peel and all, into any dish calling for small, whole fruits such as grapes or berries.

Pomegranates and Asian persimmons are also beginning to show up on grocer's shelves. These are early season varieties that are certainly worth exploring. Better, larger specimens will show up as the season progresses.

In the vegetable department, pie pumpkins, winter squash in wonderful variety, and a fine crop of Russet Burbank potatoes are the highlights.

Gardener and Gourmet Newsletter
October 8, 1998 Vol. 1, No. 14
Copyright (C) 1998, John H. Tullock. All rights reserved.
Published twice a month by Gardener and Gourmet,
3405 East Red Bud Drive, Knoxville, TN 37920-3655
(423) 573-0373

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