Medlar, medlar, how does your bletting go?

Until a few days ago, this was as close as I had ever been to a medlar, outside of literature and history;

then, as I mentioned in my previous post, my friend brought me some medlars which she had bought on Mother’s Day, at a country store, in a small farming community about 30 minutes south of our city.  Medlars are a fruit  with an ancient history in Europe but are not widely grown, or known, in my part of the world. I was delighted to see them in the flesh for the first time. They look rather different from the stylised ones on my wallpaper.

To me, the medlars look like a cross between a small russet coloured apple and a gigantic rosehip. The fruit I have is  hard and, in this state, it is inedible. Medlars must be left to blett before they can be eaten or cooked. Blett is a polite way to say decompose which is a polite way to say rot. Blett comes from the French world blettir which means to become over-ripe, or so the dictionary tells me.

So, here is my basket of medlars, beginning their bletting journey; hopefully!

I don’t know how long it will take.   I am keeping them covered in a paper bag and stored in the coolest part of my house, which is the garage. Supposedly, this will encourage their bletting. And when they have bletted, or if they blett, I will decide what to do next.  Maybe medlar jelly, or cheese, or pie, or maybe skinned and straight into my mouth….or the compost! Who knows if I will like rotten fruit 🙂

© silkannthreades

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57 thoughts on “Medlar, medlar, how does your bletting go?

  1. Judy Guion

    I don’t recall ever hearing of Medlars, although I have read Shakespeare. Fascinating!!! I’ll be waiting for the bletting and to hear what you do with them, but I’ll be real curious as to what you think of the flavor..

    Reply
  2. melodylowes

    Okay – my gardener’s heart is put to shame. Bletting? Medlars? Never heard of ’em. I am thinking I need a field trip (purely for educational purposes) out to NZ to see for myself? 🙂

    Reply
  3. lizzierosejewellery

    I have never heard of a medlar or the word blett before – I have learned something today! Maybe I should look out for a medlar tree (or bush?) in Portugul when I’m back in the summer, it seems like the kind of thing they would grow there. Thank you!

    Reply
    1. Gallivanta Post author

      Please do because I think Portugal would be the very place to find one. It wouldn’t have fruit on it at this time of the year but I believe it has a lovely flower.

      Reply
  4. Sheryl

    Interesting. . . I also had never heard of medlars or bletting. I’m looking forward to hearing more about this in a future post. 🙂

    Reply
  5. vsperry

    I just had to share this quote with you about medlars that I found on some website…
    They can also be cooked into jellies and jams as they are high in pectin. “But it has long been regarded as a dessert fruit for connoisseurs. Prof. Saintsbury in his classic book on wines, “Notes on a Cellar”, declared that “the one fruit which seems to me to go best with all wine, from hock to sherry and from claret to port, is the Medlar – an admirable and distinguished thing in itself, and a worthy mate for the best of liquors”.

    Read more: http://davesgarden.com/guides/articles/view/376/#ixzz2TPY5MXzP

    I love ANYTHING that is a worthy mate for the best of liquors…

    Reply
    1. Gallivanta Post author

      Thank you for that excellent link. It is the best one I have read. If I have a successful blett, I shall toast it with some of my finest liquors! I am pleased that the link mentions that there is a Caravaggio painting with a medlar in it. I am now going to investigate as I felt sure that medlars would feature in some great artworks.

      Reply
    1. Gallivanta Post author

      Yes, and all I may have to show for it is a pile of rotten fruit going in to the compost. My compost is quite interesting, I have to say. Full of snails and life; would make for an unusual post!!!!!!

      Reply
  6. terrytrekker

    Very interesting! I don’t want to be a meddler, but isn’t it dangerous to eat an unknown medlar? Can’t you test it out on someone first? 🙂
    First I heard of this btw. Thanks!

    Reply
  7. Tracy Rhynas

    I have never heard of ‘medlars’, and I have never heard the term ‘blett’,which I have to say does sound a whole lot more appetising than rot or decompose! So, two new things learnt today, thanks……..think I better have a sit down with a cup of tea and biscuit to recuperate 🙂

    Reply
  8. pleisbilongtumi

    Oh, I thought “Medlar” is only a name of persons ! My mind flew away to imagine how my close friend, John Medlar looks like then I compared with this photos that I have never seen before. John was a very kind person and I hope these fruits are sweet in taste too. Thank you very much for posting it.

    Reply
    1. Gallivanta Post author

      How interesting that you have a friend with that name. I hope the fruit will be sweet too. For sure, if I mix the fruit with sugar it will be sweet 🙂

      Reply
  9. valeriedavies

    Before Rebecca got here, I was also going to mention Shakespeare and the rather lewd comparisons about the fruit!!!
    I think you ‘may find it has a wonderful aromatic flavour if you’re making jelly or cheese…
    lucky you !!!

    Reply
    1. Gallivanta Post author

      I am encouraged by your comment on the flavour. It seems a shame that such a useful hardy fruit has been given such a ‘reputation’; although one thing I read which was rude, rather than lewd, made me laugh out loud. It was very apt.

      Reply
    1. Gallivanta Post author

      I like persimmons crunchy. In fact I like crunchy crisp fruit a great deal, so I am a little worried that I may not like the texture of overripe medlars.

      Reply
  10. utesmile

    Medlar, I have never heard of it. I wonder if you like to prepare anything with rotten fruit… I shall watch out for a post with Medlar jam, or…. what you decide to make. Interesting, there are such amazing fruit out there, and we don’t know about them. 🙂 It is great you introduce us to all these wonders.

    Reply
    1. Gallivanta Post author

      I hope I get to make something. Last time I stored something in the garage I forgot about it completely for months; well, when I remembered it, that food was so rotten there was no hope for it at all. All I could do was clean up a horrible mess 🙂

      Reply
  11. ordinarygood

    I remember seeing Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall collecting medlars or being given them and turning them into a jelly I think. I love the ghostly looking photo of ancestors ? on your wall….perhaps they had a familiarity with medlars?

    Reply
    1. Gallivanta Post author

      Exactly what I was wondering; about the ancestors! I think you sensed what I was doing with that photo 🙂 The ancestors are my dear maternal grandparents, Charles Ernest and Annie Louisa. They may have known medlars in family gardens or heard tales of them from older generations who may have had closer connections with the old country. One can imagine some of the older ones saying around the tea table “Remember Great Aunt.?’s..medlar jelly..it was the best….”

      Reply
  12. Clanmother

    I confess I have never heard about the medlar tree, its fruit or the bletting. Now I see that Shakespeare’s plays had many references to medlars. I will be following this dialogue with great interest!!! 🙂

    Reply

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