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Medlars: A delicious snack

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAIn the winter, when all the fruit is long since picked and frosts have long since hit, attention can turn to the lowly Medlar. The Medlar fruit is roundish and often only 1 1/2 inches in diameter. They are brown and funny looking. After frosts they blett which means they soften. The pulp inside tastes like cinnamon applesauce if you can manage to eat it before it bletts to much and starts to ferment and rot.
The trees grow slowly and only to about 10 feet tall and are self fertile. We bud them on pear rootstock, which they seem completely compatible with. The leaves are large, leathery and tropical looking though the tree is easily comfortable in USDA Zones 5-9. What is the best variety? As far as I can tell they all taste about the same and grow equally well. Some do have cooler names like the Monstrueuse de Evreinoff.
An interesting story is that in European pubs, before the availability of modern snacks, you could order yourself a plate of medlars while you drank away your troubles in a public brew house.
Medlars have been eaten for thousands of year’s so a horticultural riddle I made up is what do quinces and medlar’s have in common with McDonald French Fries?
The answer is that they were both cooked in ancient Greece.

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About Sam Benowitz

Raintree Nursery founder Sam Benowitz has been providing home gardeners and professional landscapers with the finest fruit cultivars in the world since 1973.

One comment

  1. cindie nearhoof

    i live in zone 5, you used to carry a white mulberry for my zone, but haven’t seen it in the last two catalogs, if you don’t carry anymore could you point me to someone who does? ty

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