Medlar

Medlar

Plural:
Medlars
Family:
Rosaceae – Rose family
Species:
Mespilus germanica

Origin

The plant originates from the Middle East and spread from there to the moderate zones of all of the continents. Fifty years ago, medlars were well-known throughout Europe, so it was thought to be a native fruit listed in old garden books.

Plant

Medlars grow everywhere in Europe. The trees with a broad crown that grow up to 5 m high, are attractive donators of shade. In late spring they carry large white star-shaped blooms, in the autumn the leaves are a shade of orange. The sheets are up to 10  long and are pubescent on the lower surface.

Cultivation

Medlars may only be eaten when they are overripe. The fruits should remain for as long as possible on the tree and must usually be stored for 2 weeks after harvesting in a coolish and darkish area. The regions that produce the fruit are Spain, Southern France, Italy, Greece, the Netherlands, England, California and Japan. Medlars are imported to us starting November from Spain, Italy and Turkey.

Fruit

The pulp is edible, but the bowl and core are not enjoyable. The pulp smells musty and taste sweet and sour, much like wine. Depending on the vairiety, medlars can look like a walnut, a small apple or a small pear. The bowl is coloured from tawny over rusty-red or green-brown to dark brown and is leathery, rough and hairy on the outside. The pulp is coloured reddish or brownish, feels soft like paste and can be seedless or have five cores.

Maturity

After the first frosty nights, the bowl becomes dark-brown, leathery, easily to peel and the fruits are mellow. Premature fruits have a sour pulp and bitter aftertaste.

Usage

They may be eaten raw, used for desserts, steamed as cake coating, such as applesauce or boiled down for jam, aspic or juice.

Storage

The fruits should be matured after picking for about one week in a cool and dry area. For post-maturation, they should bestored for about two weeks in a cold and dry place; in addition, a thin bed of fine sand with the sepals downward should be set.