Meddling with medlars

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A medlar still on the tree – it does remind me of a rosehip. They were smaller than I expected, about the size of an apricot.

About a year ago I planted my medlar tree into the food forest. It put off one flower in the spring, which promptly fell off, after that my tree did nothing all summer. I assume (and hope) it was building a fantastic root system, so that next spring it’ll take off. All I can do right now is wait and see.

Since I’ve never tasted or even seen a medlar fruit, when my husband mentioned he has a co-worker with an excess of medlar, and did I want to try some? I said yes. Well, we hit the medlar jackpot – the dining room table is now covered in bletting fruit (A medlar is only edible bletted, which means, slightly rotted).

Like a lot of food, I wonder who first tried them – Was someone hungry enough to randomly eat rotted fruit? It turns out they can blet right on the tree, many of the ones we picked were ready to eat. They squished in our hands, dripping out their insides. They also squished under our feet, creating a slippery mess – no wonder the medlar tree owners were happy for us to cart them away.

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medlars bletting – I think they are kinda pretty lined up like this.

I’d read that a ripe medlar tastes like spiced applesauce, but that doesn’t quite describe it. In contrast to the exotic flavours of a quince, a medlar has a more familiarness to it (quince and medlars are both related to apples). There is definitely a hint of apple pie but they are certainly not sweet. The consistency was like applesauce, but the texture was slightly different in a way I can’t describe. I like them, but eating them regularly will take some getting used to.

About a third of what we picked was ready to use right away. I felt much to lazy to make medlar jelly and I already made a ton of quince ‘cheese’ so I didn’t want to make a medlar version. I settled on making medlar sauce using the same method I use to make applesauce. I had to sweeten it in the end as I just didn’t see anyone eating the unsweetened version. My medlar sauce doesn’t have the crisp freshness that unsweetened applesauce does – it needed some sugar. The result thickened up nicely and a dollop tasted good in my morning yogurt.

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