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A method of harvesting and eating Medlar
Medlar
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John S
PDX OR
2549 Posts
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1
November 25, 2021 - 9:45 am

I was reading an  article from the Home Orchard Education Center-Tonia's newest take on the HOS arboretum.

I was inspired to use this set up to eat my medlars.  I harvested them when close to falling off.  Then I gathered some extra cardboard boxes.  I cut them so they are about 2-3 inches tall, so I have great access to the medlars.  I put it in my garage so it's cool and they can gradually ripen/blet.  It's working quite well. Squirrels don't get them, and I don't have to forage in the dark and wet under plants. Nor do I have to get up on the ladder more than once.

John S
PDX ORMedlar-boxes.jpg

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Larry_G
140 Posts
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2
November 26, 2021 - 12:25 pm

I was given a couple of yogurt tubs of these a few years ago, fully soft and ripe.

By the time the pips are dug out and the "blossom" end is removed, a little over half the fruit remains.

Removing the pips is like removing peanut pieces from chunky-style peanut butter: messy.

This went, peelings and all, into the auger-type juicer where it ground the peelings and pulp to a

smoothish consistency, I used it for a sandwich spread: peanut butter-and-medlar sandwiches.

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John S
PDX OR
2549 Posts
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November 26, 2021 - 10:17 pm

Cool idea, Larry G. 

I just eat the fruit as it is and spit out the seeds.

John S
PDX OR

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Reinettes
Lewis Co., WA
373 Posts
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December 2, 2021 - 6:17 pm

Medlars (Mespilus germanica) are one fruit that I still haven't tried here.  I've always been curious about them.  ...Way back in college, in Latin class (--the one in which I met my wife), we had a class field trip to the Getty Museum in, perhaps, Malibu (?), California.  Within a recreated Roman atrium, there was a medlar tree, which, at a given point in time during the Roman Empire, would have been thoroughly appropriate.  [--I have to admit that one of my takeaways from that visit was the hilarious number of items inscribed in Latin as curses against the Punics.  [Such animosity! Laugh...Some people seem to hold perpetual grudges through generations....]

In retrospect, I find it a bit surprising that I've never had a chance to taste one over the intervening 35+ years.  I definitely want to get a couple of them into our yard.  I get the impression that they are rather smallish trees to begin with, and so the clones need to be grafted to something like Pyrus OHxF 97 (vigorous full-sized).  For those of you who have them in cultivation, do you recommend any particular cultivars?  I know that there don't seem to be many varieties available, but I'd be curious about variety recommendations from those who have grown them.  Thanks for any suggestions!

Reinettes.

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John S
PDX OR
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December 3, 2021 - 4:31 pm

I like Nottingham a lot.

I would think that they would take to quince or hawthorn rootstock. 

John S
PDX OR

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sweepbjames
NE Portland, OR Cully Neighborhood
208 Posts
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December 4, 2021 - 3:59 pm

I also have heard hawthorn is conducive to medlar grafting.

once asked Karen T (orchard manager when I joined Home Orchard Society) which was “best”, she suggested since they’re all pretty similar (in her opinion) that big’ uns probably best bang for the buck for processing into jam, wine or other ferments. Nottingham would fall in that category.
 A few years later I had the opportunity to explore many big and small varieties, occasioned after 2 consecutive fruit shows that contained not less than 2dozen different, from the Corvallis repository. I absconded with nearly all the medlar left after the closings. A month or two and a half later I found, for my taste, fresh eating in the work van -after or between jobs for refreshment/replenishment, that as they came ripe or well blet, my hands down favorite was a small fruited one. Ka Kheti, wild medlar from Georgia. As I said, small, excellent flavor and texture. Not a dry mouth feel or stringy, as was the case with the majority of the others. I had more than a half dozen samples of each represented, well more in most cases, enough so that I feel I was able to monitor each throughout their considered bletted stage. If I was seriously considering medlar, I’d try to wrangle a scion of that one from the repository.
Different bletting/ripening times seem to have nothing to do with size of the pome variety, from my observation, Ka Kheti of the smaller varieties were later than most of the large varieties. Each of the varieties, handled the same way ‘ripened’ within a range distinct from the others, some overlapping some not, like apples and pears. 

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John S
PDX OR
2549 Posts
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December 6, 2021 - 2:06 pm

That's a great tip James. I may try to see if the National Clonal Germplasm Repository has a scion.

John S
PDX OR

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Reinettes
Lewis Co., WA
373 Posts
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December 7, 2021 - 4:09 pm

Thanks for the feedback, guys.  --Apparently, just like apples and pears, it isn't the size that matters:  it's the quality, the taste, the pleasurable essence.  That rather conforms to my own taste-testing of fruit varieties over the years.  I've often found that to be the case amid the countless apples.  

Amid the medlars, the largest one that I can think of is called (I think) 'Monstrueuse d'Evreinoff'.  Have any of you tasted it and have a taste comparison with the other available cultivars?  I guess that acquiring at least a couple or three for our yard would be a good idea over the next couple or three years.  I've never tasted a medlar and (--God knows--) I'm sure as heck not getting any younger!  I'll definitely keep 'Ka Kheti' and 'Nottingham' varieties in mind.

Reinettes.

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sweepbjames
NE Portland, OR Cully Neighborhood
208 Posts
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December 8, 2021 - 2:01 am

I’m pretty sure the Home Orchard Education Center (former Home Orchard Society Arboretum) has that ‘Monstrueuse’, and I believe, the Nottingham. Tonya there, can confirm that as definite or not if you contact her through the website. She may have some insight as to taste comparisons as well.
Scion wood I suspect might be available within the ordering window, from HOEC. Close to home. That window being soon or now, if I’m not incorrect. All that needs to be confirmed. 

Meanwhile, here is the HOEC article on medlar:

https://www.homeorchardeducati.....amp-rotten

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John S
PDX OR
2549 Posts
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December 9, 2021 - 5:36 pm

I just ordered KhaKheti from GRIN NCGR in Corvallis. They also have Monstreuse and Nottingham.  Thanks for the tip James. When you said Georgia, I was thinking about the Allman Brothers, James Brown and the Braves.  As the Beatles sang, this is the other Georgia, baby!

John S
PDX OR

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Reinettes
Lewis Co., WA
373 Posts
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11
December 10, 2021 - 3:19 pm

Laugh   Yes, John.  The other Georgia. Laugh.  ...Speaking of which -- I need to get more James Brown albums.... 'been meaning to do so.

Thanks for all the info, folks.  I have a spare Pyrus OHxF (333?) rootstock that is probably about 3 years old and could take, perhaps, up to 3 grafts upon it.  I also have a couple of English Hawthorn next to the front driveway that have been there since we moved in.  I suppose that I could use one for a graft, but they're multistemmed and I've always thought that they were too close to the driveway anyway (--which seems to be getting narrower year by year--) and should be removed.  Out in the backyard, there are shoots of quince rootstock that were rising from my 'Van Deman' quince, which I cut and set aside 2 years ago.  It's a fairly wet site during the rainy season, so a few apparently rooted and are growing.  These might also provide optional rootstocks.  (They were intended for the chipper/shredder, but I didn't get around to it.)

Sweep:  Your comment about the apparent difference in ripening/bletting time for the various cultivars was interesting.  For the medlar connoisseur, it means that a range of varieties could be bletted and ready for eating over a longer period of time.  A nice situation for those who like to eat their own produce.  [I had to check my spelling about connoisseur.  The French, whose word it is, spell it "connaisseur".  It's no dang wonder that I was confused about how to spell it!  I've found over the years that I need to buy ever more language dictionary tomes to avoid naivete, but this is one where we took the French word and standardized the misspelling!]

Speaking of the GRIN collection at Corvallis, I got the impression that they were quite generous and permitted a lot of fruit collecting for the HOS fruit shows.  Am I wrong?  Sweep:  you sound like you might know.  Curators at different GRIN sites around the country differ widely in their attitudes toward germplasm requestors.

Reinettes.

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John S
PDX OR
2549 Posts
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December 11, 2021 - 5:50 pm

Corvallis GRIN is generous, but remember that you have to mention that you are part of a "seed-saving organization" like HOS or others and that you are sharing research. It's not for home gardeners to save money on plants.

JohN S
PDX OR

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John S
PDX OR
2549 Posts
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December 15, 2021 - 7:07 pm

Update on the OP medlar bletting boxes: by now, almost all of the medlars have rotted.  They take on an unpleasant taste afterwards.

I think I should have left them in the outside tool shed. They stay cooler out there, so they would have lasted longer in good condition.   I had several in a box in the garage, but the garage is warmer than the tool shed. They became overripe too quickly.   I may get some type of rotation going, with a small bit in the fridge, a large box in the tool shed, and a smaller box in the warmer garage.

We're making this shit up as we go along.

John S
PDX OR

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Reinettes
Lewis Co., WA
373 Posts
(Offline)
14
December 16, 2021 - 2:25 pm

John,

Thanks very much for the post.  There is very definitely a difference between the "bletting" and the "rotting".  The bletting occurs naturally in the great outdoors with the cooling temperatures of the autumn (i.e., usually laying there on the ground, or collected and laid on straw out in the barn or shed...).  Apparently, the bletting medlars resent being put into a warmer environment and decide to just "throw in the towel".  It's a real pity that they can be so persnickety [--I think that's the first time I've typed that word--], but it seems to me comparable to the "trickiness" of collecting and refrigerating different varieties of pears from the trees, and then trying to figure out the right time to bring each one out into a warmer temperature to soften and be edible.

Why do some fruits have to fight us so?!

I guess that, once upon a time (like in the fairytales), people lived differently and had naturally cool sheds or attics where these fruits were stowed.  In our modern world of indoor heating, this kind of screws up the more gentle transition of temperatures.  I figure that we're all on our own in terms of finding the right places around our properties to store fruits to give them "what they insist on".  Tricky!  But I suppose that's were longer-term experience comes into play.

In the good ol' days, these sorts of things came to us naturally because they were handed down from generation to generation because it was already known (for "all" time) how it was done by your father, and your grandfather, and your great-grandfather, etc.  [I won't be-labor the point.]  The 20th century largely destroyed the intergenerational continuity of basic food knowledge as the populace became ever more urbanized and left the rural life in search of "work" and "opportunities".

I'll stop here.  I can see that I'm about to go off on a ranting tangent. Smile

I'm sorry to hear about your rotted medlars.  You definitely have my sympathies!

Reinettes.

[...You used the 'S' word.  Tee-hee!] Laugh

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John S
PDX OR
2549 Posts
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15
December 17, 2021 - 7:42 pm

I think I'm going to use a triage system next year.

I'll bring a few into the unheated storage shed.

I"ll bring just a few into the garage. When I eat them, I'll bring a few more into the unheated storage shed.

I'll leave some on the tree, and hope the squirrels don't eat too many.

Then I'll keep moving them in, a few at a time.

Incidentally, I spend a lot of time this time of year with my apples in cold storage. I eat the good half of hundreds of apples and throw the rest into the compost, rotating and checking them to make sure there aren't any really rotten hidden ones under the others.  It works pretty well to keep the good ones through the summer. It also gives me something to do on these cold wet boring winter nights.

John S
PDX OR

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Reinettes
Lewis Co., WA
373 Posts
(Offline)
16
December 19, 2021 - 3:01 pm

Ah, yes.  These cold boring winter nights....

Sounds like you're on the right track with the comparative experimentation, John.  Take notes, mental or otherwise, and you'll gradually get a system down that works.  Do you have kids?  If so, you can pass that well-earned knowledge on to them, unless, of course, they decide that they want to work for Goldman Sachs. Wink

Hey.  You're the one growing the fruits.  Eat 'em and share 'em when they're prime, compost 'em when they're past.  I'm pretty sure that was God's plan.

Reinettes.

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