Tuesday, 6 October 2009

medlars ............and bletting

The medlar is an uncommon fruit tree. I had had one planted sixteen years ago because of its white blossom and had completely forgotten it. Then, this week, I found medlar fruit on the ground beneath the tree and immediately wondered how the unappetising fruits could be used. The answer is a process called bletting.

Bletting is a ripening process that brings about an increase in sugars and a decrease in tannins.

Ripe medlars are taken from the tree in late October and stored somewhere cool. Ideally, the fruit should be harvested from the tree immediately following a hard frost, which speeds the bletting process by breaking down cell walls and quickening decay.

The fruits may need several weeks until the first stages of decay; then are ready for eating.

Once the process is complete, the flesh will have broken down enough that it can be spooned out of the skin.

According to Wikipedia, the taste of the sticky, mushy substance has been compared to sweet dates and dry applesauce, with a hint of cinnamon.

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