Meddling with medlars

We have a friend who has a wonderful selection of fruit trees in his garden.  This year we have received basketfuls of apples, walnuts, these cherries

and this week, possibly the most exciting yet.

Okay, the cherries were probably the tastiest and it is a real treat to have cherries fresh from the tree and a huge basketful to boot.  But the medlar is a fruit I have read about and wondered about and I find them very intriguing. Now, according to my friend the colloquial term for these little beauties is Dog’s Arse – I can’t begin to think why.

I was thrilled when he knocked the door bearing a basket full of these unusual fruit.

As they are, fresh off the tree, they are hard and yield very little juice or smell. They are not pleasant eaten raw straight off the tree but I am led to believe that if I leave them in a cool, dark place for a couple of weeks they will start to blet, which is they will soften and turn a darker brown, and then could be eaten raw.  However, I am not sure I will be brave enough to try them when, let’s face it, they will be halfway to rotten, and my friend tells me that he left some to blet last year and just couldn’t fancy eating one.  His chickens had a feast though.

Anyway, my medlars are in the garage bletting away.  I plan to make medlar jelly in the next couple of weeks with them. If anyone has any experience of medlars or has a good recipe for a jelly or anything else then I would be very interested to hear it.

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31 thoughts on “Meddling with medlars”

      1. I have found that this fruit make lovely india
        Pickles they should be halves then salted leave for a couple days before making hot spices.

    1. Oh Nancy thank you, that medlar fudge looks good and a bit different and the jelly recipe in that link is similar to the one I was thinking of using. I will be letting you know how they work out.

  1. Oh, you lucky woman. Those cherries look amazing. I’m not sure I’ve ever had cherries of a real tree (so to speak). Medlars are wonderful – don’t be scared of them. They should be bletted which is not the same thing as rotten – CT explained it all to me, but scientific explanations generally wash over my head and I can’t really remember what he said 🙂 Anyway, they taste of apply toffee when soft and are delicious. Last year I managed to get enough to make some jelly for the first time. I can’t remember the recipe, but it’s a standard jelly recipe – no need for added pectin – very nice too and a lovely colour. Hopefully I’ve managed to convince you.

    1. I am very lucky, those cherries were just wonderful. I was going to cook with them, hence the picture, but we ate them all up as they were. Well, say thanks to CT for his reassuring science bit, if it reassured you enough to try one I will trust that whatever it was he said was reassuring. I am really looking forward to making and tasting the jelly as I keep reading that it tastes delicious. Hugh FW makes a chutney with the pulp left over from the jelly making but I cleaned my food cupboards today and found at least ten jars of chutney of various sorts that have yet to be eaten so maybe not chutney.

  2. Fortunate woman. That cherry cluster looks fantastic and juicy.
    Yeph, that the name i’ve heard too about the Quince – dogs arse (cough). I’ve never seen them for real, so have no idea what to recommend to make with them – but whatever you do, I sure will be curious to see : )

  3. Kath, you’ve jogged my memory and I know remember that I made medlar cheese out of the left over pulp. Don’t ask me for the recipe, I just had a trawl through my most likely recipe books and couldn’t find it, so I must have found something on the internet. Whilst looking if did find a recipe for roasted medlars – once bletted roast in a shallow dish dotted with butter and whole cloves. Serve with thick yogurt. Haven’t tried that one. According to the same book, the best way to blet them is to keep them in sawdust for a couple of weeks!!!

    1. Thank you Choc, these both sound good, especially the cheese. I made Damson cheese this year, but I tried not following the cooking instructions and adapting for the Aga. It tasted wonderful but I don’t think it would have kept very well, so I didn’t post about it. I will do a search for medlar cheese.

  4. Ok – stop the boat here. Medlars … dog’s arse!!!! You are a braver woman that I lol. Good luck with it all, can’t wait to see the end product ;0)

  5. Well I have never heard of a fruit being given such descriptives – although come to think of it I have seen monkeys with rears that resemble this fruit. As for bletting, well……………… are now on another level to me. I am looking forward to seeing your jam.

    1. Hi Margaret, it is a bit rude I have to admit and doesn’t make the fruit sound particularly tempting. I am hoping that the bletted fruit lives up to its promise of being delicious, if a little on the decayed side of things.

  6. I usually get about a bucket full of medlars every year. I pick them when the leaves have fallen off. They are hard. I put them on the windowsill for about a week until they are ripe. Then I slit the thin skin and squish the contents into a big coarse sieve. Run them through the sieve with a wooden spoon and you end up with the big seeds and a lovely Christmassy smelling paste. I put about two thirds again of brown sugar and a little grated ginger into a non stick pan and stirring with a spatula, bring to the boil(ish) to get the sugat melted in, and you’re done.
    I often use mix in a few egg yolks, depending on how much paste I have, then put it in a tart dish a la tart aux citron and bake it. That really is a christmas treat! Lovely!

  7. I make pounds of medlar jelly every year & it is very popular. .I sometimes sieve the leftover pulp which I then stir it into lemon marmalade,(for which I cheat and use a pre-prepared tin .) Delicious, I didn’t think the orange worked as well. The Hugh Fearnly-Whittingstall chutney was quite good, but nothing special, I would not make it again.

    1. Hi Derry, I hope my jelly will be as popular as yours. I think mine are very nearly ready for use, they are starting to blet now. The lemon and medlar marmalade sounds wonderful. Thanks for the advice on HFW’s chutney. Kath

    1. Hi Derry, I think I am going to give the medlar fudge a go too. I am glad to hear your chickens like the pulp, hopefully mine will too and it will be a treat for them in this snowy weather we are having.

  8. Pingback: Medlar jelly | The Ordinary Cook

  9. OK, I’m in New Zealand, so we’re six months off the UK seasons. I have recently come into some medlars, but they are very hard. Are you saying just to leave them out for a few weeks to get them to ripen? Or should I shove them in the freezer (as some have suggested on other sites)?

    1. Hi James,
      The medlars I had were hard when I got them. I placed them in a single layer in a cardboard box and kept them in the garage (cool, frost free) for about two weeks. They were then soft enough to spoon out the contents. I hope you like them. I wasn’t brave enough to try to eat one as they don’t look the most tempting fruit, but the jelly is really good.

  10. I first tasted medlars as a little child during the Second World War when fruit was scarce. We loved them! This was a fruit popular during the Elizabethan age and since – until comparatively recently. It may look odd but the taste and texture are fantastic – absolutely delicious! It is a waste to add sugar and make them into some sort of jam. They should be eaten raw once they have matured (NOT rotted!) and have turned dark and soft. We have a little tree in our garden which bears masses of fruit in autumn and I pick them after the first frost. Why should anyone be afraid to eat them just because they look unfamiliar?

  11. Hi, Just came upon this site whilst looking for a meddler jelly recipe. You may be interested to know that meddler jelly came up as a theme in an epsiode of Midsomer Murder” uk TV series from 2003, which I recently watched, hence the interest….

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