Last weekend I went to Southampton’s Ropewalk Community Garden to pick some medlars. The facebook event extolled their virtues as ingredients for wine, cakes and jam. When I heard of the opportunity one thing immediately sprang to mind:

What the hell’s a medlar?

My medlars in my drawers.

Well it’s a fruit, fairly common on trees in England but not so much in shops. And there’s a good reason for that – before you can eat it you have to let it rot.

Now that doesn’t sound too appealing, and if I was somebody else I probably would have passed up the opportunity. But this sounded like a little bit of an adventure, and besides free fruit is not something at which to turn up one’s nose!

To blet the fruit you have to keep them in a cool dry place, and not piled up on top of each other. I chose my bedside draws, but right now everywhere in my house is pretty much the same temperature. Leave them there for a few weeks, checking them every 2-3 days until they’re soft and brown-red-purple.

Then you can eat them, or cook with them, or throw them at people. I’ll be doing at least two of those things.

A ripe medlar such as this one is difficult to eat.