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 🙂
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..
I think one or two of the medlars have done their bletting. I am inspecting them daily.
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? 🙂
Welcome, welcome, anytime!
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!
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.
I’m going to look it up to see what the flower/leaves are like so I can recognise it. Will let you know (in August!) x
Very unique, I’ve never heard of them.
Yes, it seems that I have happened upon a fruit that is more unusual than even I thought.
Interesting. . . I also had never heard of medlars or bletting. I’m looking forward to hearing more about this in a future post. 🙂
I am beginning to feel I will need to hold a medlar party and invite you all to a tasting of the medlars!
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…
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.
well you certainly have a whole bunch of interested people waiting for the next chapter, including me!
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!!!!!!
This is quite interesting. I have never heard of medlar. I hope it works for you.
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!
I am rather fond of meddling with my food 🙂 but I will taste test the medlar very cautiously.
Do you have a thought as to what they might taste like?
Not really because the more I read about them the more perplexed I become about their flavour.
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 🙂
It is a bit overwhelming isn’t it? Tea to the rescue! I will join you in a cuppa.
Let’s hope that the taste is better than they look, which can easily be the case. Never heard of this fruit—if you get to try them, let us know.
I certainly will. I am very curious about their flavour. Yes, looks can be deceiving.
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.
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 🙂
It seems I am not alone in never having heard of these! Thanks for an informative post!! 🙂
And here was me thinking that they were only unknown in New Zealand! They are not a supermarket friendly fruit; would be a hard sell.
They might be available somewhere here, although I have not seen them. And they would have a Swedish name, I am sure 🙂
They are full of goodness apparently. Would be excellent for juicing I would think.
You learn something new everyday! I had never heard of this. Great post btb!
I was going to say look out for them in Europe but it is the wrong season for them!
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 !!!
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.
Sorry my iPad just published. Ps when you decide to make either a jelly or cake would be interesting to see end result thanks!
If I manage to make something I will be so pleased with myself that I will certainly post the result on my blog.
Never tried it but sounds interesting mind you I let my persimmons get overripe as well so it’s not that strange I suppose. Will you make a cake out of it or eat straight?
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.
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.
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 🙂
Haha, no fun then! let me try and remember with you!
I need all the help I can get 🙂
How extraordinary! I hope your next post is not from the Christchuch hospital – take care! 🙂
Yes, it is wise to take care in unknown territory!
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?
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….”
Lovely! I hope you get to produce something tasty from the medlars and form a definite tradition your loved ones will value.
Let’s hope so.
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!!! 🙂
Some of the references are probably impolite 🙂
You are very well read! Yes, that is exactly true… 🙂