A few weeks ago I was given a handful of medlars. Sadly, not enough to warrant me washing down another demijohn and looking up ‘medlar wine’ recipes, but a decent enough haul to turn into something tasty.
Medlars are an ancient fruit, harvestable unusually late in the year, and need to be ‘bletted’ before they’re gobbled. This effectively means let the rotting process begin until they go quite squishy. A frost will do this naturally but it’s far easier to pick them while still firm and leave lying around in a cool place for a week or so. The oozing, fleshy contents need to be squeezed out, discarding the hard stones within. It can be a messy job.
Their flavour is somewhat appley, but the texture and sweet / sour balance is also reminiscent of a date. Apart from wine, their most notable culinary achievement is to be presented in curd form. For the record, mine got mixed in with some autumn berries for a winter crumble – and mighty tasty it was too.
If talk of rotting flesh hasn’t put you off and you’re still reading this you might also like to know that the fruit’s unusual appearance has caused the French to name it ‘cul de chien’ (dog’s arse).