Medlars are beautiful, but unfortunately largely forgotten trees. This is such a pity as these trees are so easy to grow and totally undemanding. The big white flowers are very eye-catching in the early spring. The tree itself is of moderate size and very easy to grow. Apart from keeping an area of about 1 square yard around the base of the trees free from grass and weeds during the first two years, after that you do not need to do anything, as the tree is then totally capable of looking after itself.
But then the fruit! People say to me… what do you do with it? Well this is the story.
How to enjoy medlars
When everything else in the fruit line has been gathered up, stored or eaten, it is then that you should to go to your medlar tree and see if the fruits are ready to pick. The biggest mistake with medlars is that the fruits are picked TOO EARLY. In general, the right time to pick medlars is towards the end of November. If you pick medlars too early, the taste and soft texture does not develop properly. You will know when the fruits are ready to pick, when a brown spot appears on some of the fruits, and gradually gets bigger, while the fruits are still on the tree. Then test the flavour of the Nottingham Medlar: squeeze the fruit, suck it, and a soft texture of the fruit means that it is ready to pick. If the texture is still dry it is not ready yet. Do not pick all the fruits in one go, as the fruits ripen over a period of approximately 14 days. When lovely and soft, it is ready for the preparation of various Medlar dishes in the kitchen.
My grandfather had a tree in his garden. While he was digging his garden, as a little boy I kept out of harm’s way by eating his medlars. Delicious they were too!!