>Our car has to pass an inspection every year (this opposed to, say every other year, because our pickup classifies as a commercial vehicle), but when Ali took the car in before our recent trip to Istanbul, they found some humidity in one of the headlights, so the car failed. They gave us a month to fix the problem, and this past Monday Ali and Baki took the car back for another try. While they were out, our neighbor, Huseyin, stopped by with a huge sack of apples and quince. He and his wife have an amazing garden out by the water source. We visited in the dead of summer, and their vegetable plots were like jungles; they have had the garden for thirty years, so they really know what they are doing. Anyway, Huseyin had come by because he had picked all the apples and quince in his orchard and he needed to take them down to his house in Tekirova, where Baki goes to school; he and his wife are only up here for summers. Ali and Baki had already gone to Sundance by the time I got Ali on the phone, so we decided that we would help move Huseyin the following day, on our way to picking Baki up from school.
We met up and moved his fruit on Tuesday, and it’s a good thing too, because later that afternoon we heard that school would be closed on Wednesday due to storms. It was perfectly clear that afternoon, and I didn’t really believe that the storm would come, but just to be safe I got some firewood from the pile and put in on the porch. Late that night, the rain started, so we got out the bowls and put them under the various leaky spots in our roof. By morning, the rain had slowed down, but the wind was taking over. I decided that since we were going to be in all day, I may as well make some quince jam. Ali had asked for jam when he saw all those quince, 3.5 kilos in all (almost 8 pounds!), so I had him buy some sugar so we’d be ready, and I called his mom for a recipe. Here is her recipe:
Peel and grate the quince and one apple, then weigh.
Put the quince in a pressure cooker with an equal amount (by weight) of sugar.
Put the seeds in too, for color. I used a cloth bag, so I could fish them out easily.
Throw in a couple of cloves.
Add two tea glasses of water (1/2 cup? anyway, not much)
Cover the pressure cooker, bring it up to full pressure and cook for 10 minutes.
Open the pressure cooker – the jam with be watery, but by the time it cools completely, it will set.
The wind was so intense that even running out of the house to the outside kitchen was tough. Even when it was not raining, the wind blew moisture from the trees and plants, so there was water everywhere. It felt as if it might pick up a tree and throw it at me. I brought in the camp stove from outside so I could cook in the Brown House, and make coffee and tea (very important in cold weather!), grabbed the grater, the scale, and the quince, and ran into the house. As the house shuddered and shook, Baki and Ali lay in bed reading while I peeled and grated. The house filled with the perfume of quince, and cozy feelings abounded.
We ended up with a huge pot of jam! It was a nice project for a house bound day, and that is truly what it was. This morning, it is perfectly clear and calm, as if nothing happened, except that there is the aftermath to deal with. The bathroom door at the red house got ripped clear off its hinges by the wind because it cannot be locked, and the reeds that we have over our pergola in front of the kitchen got peeled back. Our eucalyptus tree was leaning pretty badly, but we put up a stout stake to hold it up. Overall, things could have been a lot worse. Plus, the garden smells delicious, as if the water washed everything clean, so that the air sparkles. I certainly appreciate peaceful weather now! And Huseyin showed a canny sense of timing — had he waited, his fruit would have been blown in every direction.