Once adored by the Victorians, Medlars were loved as a sweet treat for their caramel-apple flavours. Every Sussex resident would have known what to do with them! But today, Medlars have fallen from our culinary know-how as a result of some pretty unflattering names (cul-de-chien anyone?) and a lengthy ripening process.
But why miss out on this delicious, historic and locally grown fruit? With a flavour somewhere between applesauce and dates, medlars can be enjoyed raw or used in any number of recipes. Our medlars come from Ringden Farm on the Kent/Sussex border, so are definitely an #EatSussex discovery.
How to ripen
You can’t eat medlars when they’re firm and green – they need to blet ( i.e. go ‘beyond’ ripening.) This process is necessary for other fruit, such as quince or persimmon to undergo before they’re edible. Store them in a cool, dark place until they are soft, dark brown and slightly wrinkled. This should take about two weeks.
How to eat
With a flavour somewhere between apple-sauce and dates, medlars can be enjoyed raw or used in any number of recipes. Mash and enjoy with creamy, local yoghurt for a caramely breakfast treat, make into jelly to eat with cheese. Or, how about baking in a cake?
Autumn-spiced medlar cake
This dark, sticky and aromatic cake has a wonderful texture and caramel depth of flavour. We recommend enjoying with thick local cream or served warm with heavenly cool vanilla icecream.
200g medlars, stones removed and mashed to a pulp
60g salted butter
80g caster sugar
75g muscovado sugar
2 free-range eggs
180g flour of choice
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp ground cloves
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp nutmeg
Preheat the en to 180°C. In a mixing bowl, beat the butter and sugars until fluffy, adding in the eggs until well combined. Stir in the flour, baking powder, bicarbonate and spices until well mixed. Stir in the medlars and walnuts.
Spoon into a buttered baking tray and cook for 30 minutes. Allow to cool, and enjoy!
Have you tried medlars? How do you like to enjoy them? Let us know in the comments or tag us on social media! (@finandfarm).
Recipe inspired by Bucksedwood.org.uk
Image: Ripe Medlar by Filip Maljkovic/ Flickr (cc)