A more unusual fruit tree whose fruits need to be left to rot slightly in the autumn before being used to make jelly, jam, chutney or even cheese. The ball shaped fruits of Medlar are 3-5cm in diameter when ready to pick. Pick late October / early November when there is a slight ‘give’ to them or when they just start to drop.
Once picked the medlars need to ripen – a process known as ‘bletting’ which allows the sugars to develop. Store for up to 3 weeks in a cool place on kitchen towelling keeping the fruits seperate. When the skins have become purplish black, the flesh is soft and they have a slight wine smell they are ready to use.
Common name Medlar, latin name Mespilus meaning half ball refering to the fruit shape germanica of Germany. ‘Nottingham’ is a more compact growing variety making a tree 4-6m / 13-20′ height & spread. After 10 years should not be much more than head height. Grown for its fruit since Roman times and in the UK since the 1500s at least.
Fruiting is not the quickest. Allow around five years for the first fruits to appear. However trees are self fertile so just the one tree is required! Large strap like leathery leaves with attractive large five petalled white flowers late May.