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BLOG: Ancient Fruit

2 November 2010

Whilst repeated frosts mean that winter is approaching it also heralds the ripening of the Medlar, Mespilius germanica which was coveted by the Greeks, Romans & Victorians to name a few. The small apple like fruits can be harvested after a period of being bletted, softened by frost, and were once a very popular fruit.  Bletted fruit take on the internal appearance and texture of apple sauce and can be served raw with cheese and pickles.   The fruit can also be made into Jam, Jelly, Curd’s or traditionally like the Damson it was made into a cheese. 

If your not tempted by this more unusual addition to the fruit patch it still makes a valuable asset in the garden, covered in large white single blooms in spring and stunning rich autumn foliage its also worth remembering that as the fruits stay on the tree well into December they are a good natural food crop for small garden birds over the lean months. 

Medlar will grow in most soils, even water logged but enjoy a warm sheltered site and enjoy a largely pest & disease free existence.

Paul Hervey-Brookes Plantsman & Garden Designer.