Medlar Fruit in Vancouver
Mespilus germanica features an unusual apple-like fruit that requires bletting to eat; although not widely eaten today, consumption of these fruits was much more common in the past.
Mike: I am able to remember the tree’s name by calling it ‘Blet Medlar’ after the comic actress Bette Midler.
Today we met two people, born in Northern Iran, who were picking the fruit of a Medlar tree planted along a residential street in Vancouver. They loved this fruit, but hadn’t tasted it since leaving Iran 26 years ago.
The couple said that after taking the fruit home, they would let them ripen (blet) under a cloth on a tray in a warm place for a couple of weeks before eating. Finding these fruit brought memories back and tears to their eyes.
One of our garden neighbours, food writer Eve Johnson, introduced us to this unusual fruit a couple of years ago. In her book “Eating my Words”, she wrote:
“Then, cleaning up a day or two after a medlar tasting, I was shocked to find that one of the medlars left on the serving plate had become tumescent, engorged. The wrinkles were gone. The skin was as smooth as a just-picked medlar, and now it shone again, in some places a dark wine red, in others, a rich purple brown with golden spots. The once recessed seeds had popped out. The pentagram was even more prominent. And the rim of the calyx had begun to leak a sweet, shiny juice.”
“I peeled it. The scent had sharpened. Instead of the muted applesauce smell, it was stronger and sweeter, the taste of apple-flavoured fermentation, but not the taste of a rotten apple. I felt, unmistakably, a little electric thrill.”