About Me
I'm a Melbourne boy, hailing from St Kilda with one ex, one current wife and four kids. Love the outdoors and making new discoveries. I cook a lot at home (cheers from wife) and do some preserving, mostly jams, pickles and fruit liqueurs. This is the diary of a cooking journey.

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Saturday, June 26, 2010
Medlar Jelly

Medlar, sounds like someone the Knights Templar might have wanted to conquer and growing wild as it does in old Persia, they may well have come across it.

Perhaps it was some cranky homesick knight who visited opprobrium upon its leathery skin, calling it a dog's arse, an unfortunate metaphor which bears some skerrick of visual truth.

If you think that's ugly, things only get worse.

When picked, medlars are unusable and require transformation from rock hard to soft and gooey, in a process called bletting.

Essentially, the fruit is left to break down into a paste, which is when it becomes usable. At this point, there are undertones of dates and can be consumed as a fruit.

If you want.

For the true glory of medlars is only revealed in a jam pan.

Related to quinces, there is some similarity in flavour when turned to a jelly, but there is a turbocharged aromatic punch that occurs when the ugly duckling transforms into a beautiful swan.

Medlars aren't the sort of fruit you might buy, you need to know someone with a tree. Mine came from the boys, Graeme & Tony, who run 68 Main, a wonderful B & B in Birregurra, with acres of garden that one never tires of. They suggest the addition of star anise to the jam pan adds complexity, cinnamon works well too.

Medlar Jelly

2kg medlars
375g sugar per 500ml strained juice
juice of 2 lemons
jam setter (for emergency)

Leave the fruit to blett for a few weeks (completely soften) and place in a preserving pan with enough water to cover. Bring to the boil and simmer for 90 minutes to 3 hours, depending on the degree of bletting. Strain through muslin or jelly bag. Do not push on the fruit or you may end up with cloudy jelly.

Measure the liquid and add 375g sugar per 500ml of liquid along with the lemon juice. Bring to the boil, then simmer for about 10 minutes until setting point is reached. To test for set, place a couple of plates in your freezer, put a spoon of jelly, cool in the freezer then run your finger through it. If it parts like the Red Sea and crinkles at the edges, it's ready. If not, keep cooking for another 5 minutes. If there is still no set, add some jam setter according to the instructions and test again.

Pour hot into sterilized jars and seal.
  posted at 8:48 pm

At 8:57 am, Blogger Thermomixer said...

Looks absolutley superb. Good work.

I wonder how many medlar trees are in old farm orchards that get pulled out because the new owners don't know what they are, and haven't a bletting clue what to do with them?

I know where a couple of trees are that the owners wouldn't use, but they wouldn't let me take the fruit!

At 6:58 pm, Blogger Katie Zeller said...

I had a medlar tree in our last place, in the Vendee. Not a clue what to do with those ugly things, though, and with all the plum, cherry, peach, apple and pear trees I didn't bother figuring it out.
In cosmic justice I don't have a single fruit tree here - not even an bletting medlar. What gorgeous jelly!

At 9:46 pm, Blogger GS said...

Beautiful pic and post. Now if only we could leave a few hardened individuals to blett for a few weeks, I wonder what riches they'd yield?

At 1:46 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Very nice pictures Neil. Some of the best foods take time and patience to reveal their inner beauty and the rewards are great to those that persist.

At 10:45 am, Anonymous Amir said...

Thank you Neil for letting me try it... two thumbs up, awesome taste. I grew up having Medlar at the end of Autumns, especially for Yalda nights in Iran.

At 2:54 am, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oohh, the top pic makes me want to try some...

At 7:06 pm, Anonymous phil Green said...

Tried as a boy in the UK, and can still taste them to this day. I'm gazing at my first fruit on my "Dutch" medlar ex Victoria - can't wait! Iguess there is a lot of things that we are forgetting from our Grandmothers - the jellies that went with meats, the joys of suet, real sauces ... all made in real time. Thanks,
Phil Green Albany WA

At 9:06 pm, Blogger neil said...

Hi phil, thank you for your wonderful comment. Hope your first crop works out well, indeed, the first taste is never to be forgotten.

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At 9:55 pm, Blogger Wendy T said...

An older and wiser jam maker here in central Victoria does not blett her medlars but slow cooks them down, similar to quinces then proceeds to make her jelly. It is fantastic.

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At 7:32 am, Blogger Unknown said...

Does anyone have problems with getting the jelly to set? I'm using the amount of sugar in the recipe - have even reboiled with extra jam sugar but still can't get any set.


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