What the Heck’s a Medlar?

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blog_medlar_2Medlar (Mespilus germanica) is a fruit you won’t likely see in the produce aisle of your local grocery. A mainstay of  medieval French and English gardens, the medlar’s mere appearance suggests (and rightfully so) that it is something special. I was smitten the first time I saw the tree, which was on a walk through the University of Washington Arboretum in Seattle.

blog_melar_1A well-behaved tree of small to moderate size, it delivers on all counts: flowers, fruit and fall foliage, much like another favorite of mine,  the fruiting quince. The fruit hangs on the tree like nodding caramels, remaining well after leaf drop.

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Pick the fruit after the fist big chill or frost as it needs to blet or soften before eating, otherwise it’s bit astringent, like an unripe fuyu persimmon. The pulp ripens to an almost applesauce consistency, and oddly enough that’s what it tastes like.blog_medlar_4

It’s funny little fruit, one that will never replace apple, pear or plum, but one that is much more entertaining when watching the uninitiated (and brave) take their first bite.

Related Resources:

What I was blogging about one year ago:

Medlar on Foodista

6 COMMENTS

  1. I ran into that name many times before while looking for the name of a fruit we adore in my home country (Lebanon) but that I saw totally neglected in the streets of Los Angeles when I first moved there. I thought it was medlar, but in fact it was loquat!

  2. Where did you find a Medlar tree in the University of Washington Arboretum? I live in the area and am considering planting a couple medlar trees in my yard. It would be great to be able to see the tree in person! Thanks for the information, happy gardening!

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