A Medlar Experiment – and a Surprise!

img_8624I can assure you that the surprise was NOT that bletted medlars are the most delicious fruit I have ever tasted… However, I have now tasted (and when I say tasted I mean tentatively tried the teeniest bit on the end of a spoon) them and can report that they are not unpleasant – and that J & D (of BigGardenBlog)’s description of them on my own blog after I had picked them on our visit to Bristol as ‘a firm brown paste, gently sweet, taste like … err … umm … medlars! Perhaps a bit like roasted apple and avocado blended together?’ is pretty accurate although I can’t vouch for the avocados. It reminded me of the taste and texture of a very thick apple puree, the consistency of the mixture you would need if you were making apple ‘leather’. Am I going to eat them all now, or make jelly from them? Neither, I think, as most were probably past the point of bletted and more at the almost mouldy stage – and a recipe for a single medium jar medlar jelly requires 1kg of medlars, both bletted and unbletted, and I perhaps have about 200g. Hey ho – at least I now know what a bletted medlar looks and tastes like!

The surprise came last week when I uploaded pictures to the National Garden Scheme (NGS) website in preparation for our opening next year. The description and all opening details have to be written and submitted by early September although photos can be added at any time and the ‘yellow book’ itself is not published till spring next year. I was not therefore expecting that details of the 2017 gardens – including ours – would already be available on the website for all to see – and it suddenly becomes a lot more real!

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37 Responses to A Medlar Experiment – and a Surprise!

  1. I have never tasted a medlar yet. I shall have to do a “search” next year…

  2. Congratulations, Cathy! Your page for NGS looks great.

    • Cathy says:

      Thanks Kate – it takes a lot of thinking to choose the right words and get them within the word limit!, especially for the printed book, doesn’t it?

  3. Cathy, please enlighten me – what is bletted?

    • Cathy says:

      It’s the process of softening beyond ripeness that some fruits have to go through before they become edible – almost to the point of rottenness, which is why medlars never sound in the least bit appealing 😉

      • OH, thank you, I have heard of Medlars for their yuck factor and I suppose it is the bletting. The Fuji fish of fruit? or maybe more like Durian which I have never worked up the nerve to try.

  4. johnvic8 says:

    They say we are two countries separated by a common language. What is a medlar? and what is bletted (the word is not even in my dictionary). But isn’t that why we do these blogs? to find out about things from other parts of the world? Thanks for sharing. Perhaps they will come up in my daily crossword puzzle. Your photo page is wonderful. Congratulations.

    • Cathy says:

      Do look at my reply to the last comment, John, and perhaps back at the post about when I picked them. Bletted is certainly not a word in everyone in the UK’s vocabulary either, not in the 21st century anyway!

  5. Cathy says:

    How exciting for you Cathy! I am looking forward to following your preparations for the big day(s). 🙂

    • Cathy says:

      Thanks Cathy. The preparations are on-going, even so far ahead – in the weeks immediately before the opening there will be so much titivating to do that it’s good to get as much of the practical preparations done in advance as possible

  6. karen says:

    So exciting. Your page on the NGS site looks great. Can’t wait to see your garden. x

  7. rickii says:

    Your pioneering spirit is on display…tasting medlars and opening your garden…how daring of you.

  8. pbmgarden says:

    Great photo in the NGS Cathy. Have never heard of medlar.

  9. smallsunnygarden says:

    Thanks for keeping us ‘posted’ on the medlars 🙂 I’ve wondered what they might taste like! It sounds like a great deal of effort, for the flavor I must say! But an intriguing experiment…
    Can you provide a link for us outlanders to see your NGS listing, please? 😆

    • Cathy says:

      And I was astonished at the quantities needed to make jelly – although I will perhaps queck out other recipes and see if they are any different. I will go back and include a link – Amy – don’t know why I didn’t include it in the first place

  10. Steve says:

    Opening in the yellow book is great fun. Good luck and hope the weather is good for you.

  11. Chloris says:

    Well thank you for braving the rotten, sorry, bletted medlars so I don’t have to bother. Never mind the taste, they look so unappetizing. In fact the old vernacular name for them says it all. I won’ t sully your lovely blog with it.
    Your NGS photo looks beautiful, how exciting.

    • Cathy says:

      I am glad to be of service, Chloris – and of course I had to check out the vernacular name so was more than a little amused as the Golfer had described the bletted medlar I had instructed him to try as ‘looking like dog poo…’ 😉

  12. Sam says:

    What a lovely pic and write-up on the NGS site – exciting?! I have a medlar sitting on my kitchen window-sill but I think it’s dried out in the sunshine rather than bletted. Oh well. Thank you for telling us about yours.

    • Cathy says:

      Yes, definitely exciting Sam! And I am sure you will have got more pleasure looking at your medlar on the window sill than you would have done from eating it 😉 No, that’s a bit unfair really as it wasn’t unpleasant, just very different – and yet we are generally not as suspicious of new tastes these days as we used to be…

  13. We don’t have medlars here. It is nice to see them. I have heard others mention them.
    Seeing your garden description on the web makes the tour seem more real. Good luck.

  14. Anna says:

    Interesting to read your verdict on the medlar Cathy. I’ve never tasted one but mind you anything that with possible shades of avocado about it rings alarm bells with me. Too much like soap! What an inviting photo on the NGS site. The dates are in my diary 🙂

    • Cathy says:

      It was hard to taste it without the expectation that it would be unpleasant – and yet it wasn’t really, just very unusual. And you don’t need to wait till June to visit, Anna…

  15. Brian Skeys says:

    There is no going back now Cathy!
    The garden looks good on the website.

  16. [J&D] Mmmm! A bit more practice required. Bletting is as much an art as is wine-making. Good luck with the open garden! Our own experience of letting the public into our garden wasn’t good. Most are genuine, but eventually the selfish few spoil it for the many.

    • Cathy says:

      I didn’t mean to sound negative about the experience and you are quite right about needing more practice – don’t suppose it was a good idea to leave them in the plastic bag they were carried home in and half-forgotten about for a fortnight… Would you like to share a snippet of your unsatisfactory garden opening experience – I promise not to let it put off, not too much anyway?!

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