Wednesday, 16 November 2011

Meddling with Medlars

My friend Alison kindly sent me this recipe for medlar jelly, she also took the lovely photographs to illustrate the process.
People have been eating medlars for a long time; Shakespeare said some fairly rude things about them, some people call them cat’s bottoms and others, worse things still but the end result here looks like bottled rubies.
Cat's Bottoms!
Here is Alison’s Medlar Jelly recipe...
1.      Pick the medlars when they are hard and store in a cool place for 2 - 3 weeks until soft (bletted).
When the Stored Medlars Change Colour, they are Bletted
2.      When your medlars are bletted gather a few more firm medlars to mix with them. This helps the jelly set.
3.      Cut the fruit into quarters and place in a large pan. Cover them with water and slowly bring to the boil. Cook for about 1 hour until the fruit is soft.
4.      Gently strain the fruit through a jelly bag. Do not squeeze the bag as this will make the jelly cloudy. Leave it overnight if necessary.
5.      Measure the juice back into a large pan and for each 600mls add 450 g of sugar. Bring slowly to a rolling boil and cook until jelly reaches setting point 220 - 222 degrees C.
6.      Remove scum with a spoon and pour into sterilised jars.
Ta Da! Like Bottled Rubies

Medlars are not very common and even less well know; I thought I had found some earlier this year but they turned out to be only some kind of small pear, they still tasted very good after they had changed colour though.
I must find out what they might have been...


  1. I think your small pears might have been perry pears. We have a lot of them over here (Normandy) as poiré is made as well as cider. I am lucky enough to have 3 or 4 medlar bushes in my garden but found a couple of wild ones whilst dog walking. For all dog walkers-look at what is growing!

  2. Hi Donna
    These Pears were really tiny, about the size of my thumb, no bigger. They grew on small trees planted by the roadside.
    When we collected them they were green/yellow and hard, they were inedible too. I left them and they changed colour to purplish brown. I then tried eating them, they tasted a bit mature perhaps like a mild Port! So I had them with cheese and crackers ;-)
    I made perry this year too - as yet untried but I'm thinking about it often...

  3. What kind of leaves did the trees have? If they looked like Rowan leaves then they were Service fruit, Sorbus domestica. Very tasty.

  4. Hi I live in Christchurch, New Zealand and have a very large medlar tree in my garden, very rare,have not attempted to cook with them yet but when I do I will make the jelly then use the pulp to add to apples and make chutney.

  5. That's fantastic - let us know how you get on.
    It's brilliant to know that the Urbane Forager project is reaching right around the globe too!
    Make sure to take lots of lovely pictures and write the process up - it's good to talk ;-)