What are medlar fruits?
You may never have heard of medlar fruits, as they are rarely grown or eaten these days! I hadn’t heard of them until a couple of years ago when my family planted a medlar tree in our garden. It is only a small tree, but every Autumn it is covered in small brown fruits. These fruits have a nickname of ‘dogs bottom fruits’! You’ll get an idea of why they are called that from the pictures below.
I didn’t get a picture of the fruits while they were still on the tree this year, but you can see the tree and the picked fruits separately. [Edit 29/8/19: I have taken some photos of the tree the following year with medlar fruits growing on it. See further down.]
Wait until they are ‘bletted’
Strangely, the medlars are only ready to eat when they have gone soft and begun to rot – a process called ‘bletting’. You will know they are ‘bletted’ when they feel squidgy and look a bit wrinkled. This may not sound very appealing, but they taste delicious. They are soft and juicy, with a sweet taste, almost like a mixture of apples and dates. At first, they seem like fiddly fruits to prepare and eat, but I have discovered a technique that makes it very easy! Read on to find out how…
The easiest way to eat medlar fruits
The first step is to get hold of a medlar fruit in the first place! They are rarely sold in supermarkets (although some specialist farm shops may have them), so you may have to scout around and find a medlar tree growing wild, or ask friends and family if they have one. Perhaps put a post on social media to ask.
Once you have your medlar, make a tear in the skin, starting at the base, and carefully peel it off in a spiral. It should peel off cleanly and easily.
Stop peeling when you are near to the spiky end of the fruit. You can now use the ‘spikes’ as handles to hold the fruit and start eating! Take care because there are about 5 stones in each medlar. You can suck these clean and spit them out.
Use your teeth to scrape the remaining fruit off the peel. Then you’re done!
I hope you enjoyed eating your delicious medlar fruit! Maybe it has inspired you to plant a medlar tree in your garden, if you haven’t already got one. Even the small trees like mine produce fruit, so they are a great fruit tree to have if you have limited space.
Update: Medlar fruits growing on the tree
I have taken some photos of the tree in August 2019 with fruits growing on it. The fruits are almost fully grown, but they won’t be ripe for another couple of months. As you can see, the tree looks very different from how it did last November when I wrote this post!