First thing we did, when we started with our garden, was to plant a new hedge with native bushes. This year was the first time, the little plants where strong and big enough to function as a natural fence. Birds and bees love this area of the garden.
One of the bushes is a Medlar (Mespilus germanicus) also known as the “real medlar”. Over the years it has almost grown into a little tree, with more and more fruits each year. But for the last years, we didn’t really know what to do with the fruits. The fruits need to get a decent frost, in order to become ripe and edible. Before, they have a high amount of tannins and a bit into the fruit ends astringend.
Anyway in the middle age medlars where very common in Germany. It was used as a medical plant, due to the anti-inflammatory effect in it.
So in order to harvest the fruits, I waited until the beginning of November. The first night frosts appeared and the medlars are starting to get darker and darker. You can pick them and let them ripen for some more days. Or frost them one night in your freezer, refreeze them and let them sit for 1-2 days. They are good, once they start getting dark and brown, almost black. The moment you would think “such a shame, they are fauling”, they are best. You can eat them raw, just take care about the 4 pits inside. I would say it tastes a bit like apple sauce right out of the fruit. I instantly had the feeling, I am doing something good for my immune system!
Our medlar tree was full of fruits this year. The branches are almost touching the ground again, due to the weight of the fruits. I decided to start with a “medlar beginner” recipe, and took the same amount of quinces together with the medlars to make a very tasty jam and some “medlar-quince-bread”. So good!
- 500g ripe medlars
- 500g Quinces
- 1 cinnamon stick
- juice of one lemon
- 1 vanilla pod
- 400g sugar
Clean the quinces and cut them in rough pieces. With the medlars, put them into a big pot and cover with water. Add the cinnamon stick. Let simmer for at 40 minutes on low heat, until the fruits are very soft. Keep on turning the fruits once in a while and add some more water if needed. I used a “Flotte Lotte” to strain the fruits once they are soft. I have no idea about the right translation, but you use it to get rid of the pips and the skin and only get the good stuff out of the fruits.
Add the lemon juice, the vanilla seeds and the sugar and let simmer for another 40-60 minutes. Take care not to burn the jam. Put it into sterilized gases. The longer you cook your jam, the thicker it gets. Put it into one, with baking sheet covered, form and let cool down completely. Then you can cut little cubes – yumm!
Edit: Encouraged by the good test of the quince-medlar-jam I restarted with only medlars. Very good as well! Try it out!