Tasting My First Medlar

I planted a Medlar tree last Spring. I don’t know why but the moment I first saw a Medlar I knew that I would have to plant one at some time. And the minute I had the space to do it, I did.

I first saw one at The Courts Garden, a National Trust property near Bath that I visited a lot when I lived in the UK. The tree wasn’t very big – I’m estimating around 12 foot high but it was perfectly proportioned. It bloomed with white flowers in the Spring and dangled with brown jewel-like fruit in Autumn.


I never dared to touch the fruit (someone might see me!) and so I didn’t know what a Medlar tasted like. I had heard that it was one of the oldest fruits that we still cultivate and that it had been popular in Medieval times.


The fruits aren’t that big, say the size of a small Tomato, and they hold onto the tree way past leaf fall and into the Winter. Infact, the softer the fruit the better they taste. They need to be bletted or rotted before they are soft enough to eat. Before that they are just like hard crab Apples, ie. bitter and yuk!

My Medlar has done surprisingly well. It has coped with both my clay, waterlogged soil and near drought conditions in the summer! It also had some lovely orange leaves in the Autumn.

Now there are six fruits on my tree. I’m surprised since I only planted it last year. I could see that they were ready because they were drooping down and when I squeezed them they were soft and bouncy.


So here they are. And it’s time to taste my first one! The taste is interesting. It’s like stewed Apple but fresher and with more caramel. I like it! There are stones in there so you have to avoid them. And the flesh is so soft that you really have to eat it with a spoon. And… there isn’t much of it. But… my curiosity is filled. I now have my very own piece of history, growing in my garden.

9 Comments on “Tasting My First Medlar

  1. Interesting to hear what you think of them. I’ve never tried one, but the trees are beautiful.

  2. I’m so glad to read your review of the medlar. I read about them in the Raintree Nursery Catalogue and have been fascinated with the idea but I don’t have room to plant one yet. I’m even more determined now to have one in my garden.

  3. My neighbour who is only here about six weeks a year has a medlar tree and I will be collecting the fruit probably tomorrow. I have never tasted medlars and was planning on making medlar jelly which is apparently what the fruits are usually used for.

    She also had quinces – like a very hard and large yellow pear to look at – from which I have made quince compote.

    See this link for a recipe for medlar jelly when you have more fruits in the future.


  4. Fantastic! I am slightly obsessed with medlars and other unusual fruits and am trying to decide what to cram into my already-shady garden. Delighted to hear that the tree only reaches about 12′ tall. I had heard the fruit tasted like spiced applesauce, but your description sounds better than that. Have you noticed any pests or disease problems on your tree?

    That fruit has a face only a mother could love, but it’s charming in its own way. Thanks for a fun post.

  5. Hi Amy, No disease problems as yet. They seem to be resilient little trees. No feeding, watering or pruning done here and yet it’s fruiting beautifully.

  6. Hi, this is on reply to the ginger that I wanted to plant from sprouts. (19.11.2013) I live in South Africa, so it would be hot summer with direct sun.

  7. We have a fruit plant called “Ciku” which you have to let it rotted/softened before you can eat it. Similar to Medlar, I guess. And it taste absolutely delicious.

  8. Interesting to read your experiences thus far of the Medlar tree. There’s a 4′ high one in the gardens where I’m studying which produced about 6 fruits this year – I was going to pick one to taste but saw that they’d all gone when I looked recently – someone obviously had the same idea! I’ll have to wait until next year now!