Thursday, November 22, 2007

Medlar magic

Have you tried medlars? I see them fairly frequently, but usually they're rock hard and inedible. That's because the medlar needs bletting before you can eat it - 'bletting' is a posh-sounding term that means rotting. You can't hurry this process, in fact it's not worth collecting medlars until early November. By then, the fruits have started to fall, collect them up and leave for a week or so in a box or bag somewhere not too warm. When you can squish one easily, they're ready to eat. Fear not; the bletted medlar may look a little manky and fit only for the compost bin, but its softened flesh is gently sweet: reminiscent I think of toffee apples, it definitely has potential for exploring in the kitchen.
This evening I processed 2 carrier bags of squidgy medlars... and spent ages researching recipes on line. I didn't do any of the ones I liked the sound of, being a bit pooped from this afternoon's leaf clearance in the garden, short on various ingredients and frankly ready for a glass of wine and a sit down.
But I found some double cream at the back of the fridge, plus some molasses sugar and mixed these up with a few dollops of medlar pulp: thereby proving to myself that sometimes the old traditional recipes perhaps become traditional because they're simple and excellent. Maybe tomorrow I'll feel like trying some more complex recipes with this rather underrated little fruit.