quince or crab apples? Getting ready for the festive season

Today I checked on my leaf gift tags. They are being nicely pressed in a book by the sadly missed garden presenter, Geoff Hamilton. The book is from his ‘Cottage Gardens’ TV series, flicking through the pages I remembered using his ideas to transform a rectangle of grass into a pretty cottage garden some years ago, fond memories of all the work and delight I found in making a garden my own.


The leaf tags are experimental versions to which I added a few words to get some idea of the finished product but I’m concerned they are looking a bit bland, maybe they would look a bit more festive sprayed in gold or silver, perhaps even gilded a bit with a gold wax crayon. 


In addition to the leaf drying I’ve started drying a sliced up orange for Christmas decorations. These take a bit of time to dry out so I’ve popped the pieces onto a foil covered cake tin base which is on top of the wood-burner. I’ve done these before and they look great in a bowl with a few pine cones or on garlands with Cinnamon sticks and fir tree cuttings.


Half a kilo of either crab apples or quince fruit has come into my possession so I’m going to have a go at quince/crabapple cheese. The fruits were yellow like some crabapples and incredibly fragrant like quince but much smaller than I remember quince. Who will know? I’m pretty sure they are not poisonous though.


To make the Jelly I am using Fiona’s recipe on the Cottage Smallholder at http://www.cottagesmallholder.com/?p=102. The fruit has been gently cooking on the stove all afternoon and I’ve ladled it into the muslin cloth to strain for the night. My faithful muslin cloth has now strained many types of fruit and washes up well every time. I would not dare suggest replacing it.


4 thoughts on “quince or crab apples? Getting ready for the festive season

  1. I LOVE this idea … and am intrigued by your oranges – years ago I remember drying some slices out in a cool oven, but would much rather use the woodburner … I’m worried about scorching them – what do you suggest?

    And I’ve just noticed your comment about a gold wax crayon – I’ve never seen such a thing, where did you buy it??


    PS, looking through your archives, very good tip about using fir cones as kindling 🙂

  2. Hi Joanna
    Thank you.
    The oranges are perched on a metal pan stand on top of a cake tin base that I wrapped in foil so they are not too close to the heat. With another evening on the stove they should be dry.
    The gold wax crayon is yet to be purchased but I know they are available as they are used for brass rubbings. I shall post where I buy it.

  3. Lovely idea. When we got married, for the placenames on the tables we used laurel leaves and wrote in gold pen on the front of the leaf, they looked gorgeous.
    thanks for reminding me about that idea because now we have a garden with a number of large laurel bushes and it would work great for gift tags. (When we got married we pilfered some from a friends garden)

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