You think you know everything about fruits, and then you meet a medlar. It comes into season in the winter. And it needs to “blet” (or rot, or ferment, however you want to call it) a little bit before it is yummy. For this reason, medlars have been used as metaphors (kinda inappropriate by today’s standards) by many writers throughout history. Shakespeare wrote about them, Chaucer did too, so did Cervantes. They have a wild flavor, and were once eaten as an after-dinner delicacy alongside madeira.
Scott Farm in Drummerston, VT is growing medlars. We glimpsed the word MEDLAR on an email newsletter that Myers Produce sent out and think mostly because of the name, we ordered some. We let the medlars “blet,” and Martina made an incredible jam out of the medlars, and she turned it into a sandwich with roasted parsnips.
We really wanted to bring this sandwich to you all, but there were only 60lbs available. Then the farmer wrote and said he had found a mislabeled box of medlars. Medlars disguised as apples!
Now we have almost 300lbs of medlars. Still not much, but enough to do a special 2-week run of the sandwich starting January 11th. And if there are any food historians reading, get in touch. It would be fun to do a medlar talk and tasting.