We were gifted a medlar tree when we moved to Plum Tree Farm. Related to apples and quince it is a fairly unusual and some say ugly fruit that you have to leave to blett, or rot, before eating. In my opinion it's unique features are what make it appealing as well as the fabulous jelly that I call little pots of gold, that can be made every November.
Delicious added to gravy adding a wonderful shiny gloss with a sweet fruity flavour or served with cheese or alongside meat - I highly recommend it.
1.6kg bletted medlars
1/4 firm medlars to bletted medlars left on the tree (approx 400g)
2 small sharp apples
2 litres of water
Once the medlar fruit is ripe to pick (usually in November) harvest the fruit leaving a few attached to the tree. You then need to go through a process called bletting. This softens and rots the harvested fruit ready for cooking.
Arrange the harvested fruit in a single layer on trays at room temperature for about 2 weeks or until they are dark brown and squishy to touch. Once ready for the pan harvest the firm fruits left on the tree.
Slice all the fruit in half and put in a very large deep pan. Year after year I've had to use more than one pan as the harvest grows more fruitful. Halve the lemons and apples and add to the medlars. Pour over the water. Bring to the boil then lower the temperature and partially cover with a lid. Leave to cool.
Try not to stir or mash the fruit as this will make the jelly cloudy when you are looking to produce clear amber nectar.
Pour the fruit and its liquid into a jelly bag or muslin bag suspended over a large bowl to collect the juices (I hang mine from the taps over the sink). Let the juice drip through the bag giving it an occasional squeeze. Once it stops dripping (I leave it for about an hour) give it one last big squeeze to get any remaining juices. You will be left with a bag of squidgy goo.
Pour the juices back into the clean pan and boil for about 8 - 10 minutes, then add the sugar. Dissolve the sugar, boiling for about 5 minutes then ladle into clean jars and seal. Leave to cool.
I have never quite got this right first time and often, once cooled in the jars the following morning, I have had to add them back to the pan and cook for a little longer. I like a consistency of golden syrup when cool but more sugar and longer cooking, produces a firmer sweeter jelly. Whatever takes your fancy.