Medlar Fruit (Mespilus germanica)
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The fruits resemble a small apple with a hollow at one end and brown rough textured skin. They are hard and bitter and can only eaten when they are bletted (softened), after a frost. There are few fruits that become edible in winter which is why they were popular historically (before modern storage facilities) and can be made into delicious preserves, medlar cheeses or jellies.
The fruit is sweet, slightly citrus, with overtones of stewed apples. they must soften so allow fruit to remain on the tree if possible into winter and harvest when it picks easily even waiting until they fall, the softening process which turns a medlar\'s tartness to sugars is known as bletting the flesh becomes a creamy puree
Fruit harvested hard can be stored in a single layer on dry sand or paper, stalk upward, in a cool dry place Dip stalk in salt to prevent rots and eaten when the skin and flesh have softened. Medlar fruit can be eaten raw or cooked.
You don\'t get is a lot to eat from each medlar they contain several, chunky stones – "pips" and one way is to eat them is to scoop the flesh straight from the fruit with a teaspoon. It makes a delicacy with wine, port or cheese. You can also mix the pulp with sugar and cream. Try adding it to breakfast yoghurt.
Medlars are probably best known, however, for being made into a jelly or cheese, when the fruits are stewed whole and passed through a sieve. You\'ll need a fair number to make more than a small jarful,