One woman, one garden, one quince tree; how Fruit Magpie was born.
When Hazel Griffiths planted a quince tree in her North London garden 20 years ago, she had no idea it would produce so much fruit. Or that an incredibly successful venture was just around the corner. Left with so much fruit that she simply couldn’t give away any more, Hazel put her distaste for waste to work making fruit cheese.
Well yes, cheese, but not cheese cheese. Fruit cheese is a sweet thick jelly made out of the fruit pulp, like a firmer, smoother, sliceable jam. It’s popular in Portugal and Spain, where you may have seen it described as ‘dulce de membrillo’. It’s delicious with cheese (the dairy kind), especially Spanish Manchego, and other savoury foods like cured meat.
Do not underestimate the versatility of the fruit cheese however! It can also be melted down to make gravy and marinades, used as a glaze, or sliced into little cubes of after dinner goodness. Oh, the possibilities!
Since its beginnings in 2015, Fruit Magpie has grown tremendously. Wildes Cheese love the product so much that they include it in their hampers. The Urban Cheesemaker includes a slice in every one of their cheese hampers and in 2016 it won the ‘Proper Preserves’ category at London’s Urban Food Awards.
Hazel has now ventured beyond the humble quince fruit too, with Apple Chilli, Medlar and Morello Cherry varieties. Even better, they’re all made from chemical free, surplus fruit grown in London allotments.
The Ultimate Guide to Reducing Food Waste at Home
Download our free PDF guide to reducing food waste. It’s packed full of tips and recipes to help you eat well and waste less.