Ripening Pumpkins in France

Ripening Pumpkins

We have had some really very warm weather over the last couple of weeks. Pretty chilly mornings, down to 7 degrees but by late morning temperatures up to 20 degrees. Perfect pumpkin ripening and walnut drying weather.

Yesterday I decided to tackle a pumpkin. Wow, that orange skin is hard. After I had peeled, deseeded and chopped up the beautiful orange vegetable I was left with 10kg of prepared pumpkin… I made a lot of soup!

We have a quince tree. A couple of weeks ago, I picked two bucketfuls of these knobbly fruits. I love the rose-like smell of these ugly fruits but I’m not sure if I like the taste. I’ve tried, but no, I don’t think I do. The trouble with quince is their longevity, they just don’t go bad. If they had all gone rotten, then “tant pis”, I could tip the buckets up into the compost and not feel too guilty. But the fruits are still perfect…

I am reliably told by the mushroom-collecting Breton women that the cep season is almost over, and now we should be seeking chanterelle mushrooms. We should? Yesterday, I was given a chanterelle mushroom and told that these fungi like the shade of the chestnut tree. This morning our dog and I will be hunting chestnut trees!

A little later…

Crème de Châtaigne

Crème de Châtaigne

Crème de Châtaigne. Have you made yours yet?

I didn’t find too many chanterelle mushrooms… but wow, the chestnuts are big this year.

I stopped at the village shop on my way back from the forest. Lucienne was just leaving with her baguette and saw the basket of chestnuts in my boot. French women always look in car boots, in the same way as you check out your neighbour’s shopping trolley if you happen to see them in Sainsbury’s.

Recipe for Crème de Châtaigne - Cream of chestnut

Recipe for Crème de Châtaigne

‘Chestnuts’ Lucienne remarked. ‘I made my Crème de Châtaigne this morning.’


‘Crème de Châtaigne. Do you like it?’

I must have looked confused.

‘Never mind’ she said. ‘I’ll see you later.’

About an hour later, there was a knock on the door. Lucienne.

She handed me the recipe for Crème de Châtaigne and a tiny pot of the chestnut jam for me to try. Delicious.

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