Thursday, April 30, 2009

Forgotten Fruits: The Medlar Tree

I'm going to make this a new part of my blog. So we'll see how it works.

Here's an introduction:
Think about all the food you eat. EVERYTHING you purchase at the supermarket has ONE thing in common. If you ONLY eat food from supermarkets and food from restaurants that means EVERYTHING you eat has this same thing in common. Give up?

All that food is profitable. All that food you eat is grown, or sold, most likely because it can be shipped. Think about figs, only recently have fresh figs been available in the market because of new breeds. Figs were only available as dry fruits (see: fig newtons) and that is really the only thing that saved the fig from being lost in oblivion. Figs typically open up on the ends when ripe and so they were never suitable for shipping. The tomatoes one buys at markets are also tough skinned so they won't bruise or break when being shipped. And so our diets are based on what foods are profitable for business. (see: McDonalds)

Unfortunately this has happened to many fruits. And today I'm going to talk about the medlar fruit.

I've never had one, but i've heard good things. It is native to Iran and was grown in ancient Rome and Greece. This leads me to believe it may be a PERFECT tree to grow in southern California as we share the mediterranean climate it was originally grown in. Mespilus germanica is it's botanical name. The fruit needs to be bletted in order to be eaten (that means it needs to be over ripe like the persimmon) It is also similar to the persimmon and blueberry in that the flower is directly attached to the fruit and noticeable. The fruit is a matte brown when ready to eat and is described as similar in taste and consistency to apple sauce.

Here is a photo of some of it's flowers. The tree gets to about 25 feet or so and is deciduous. "medlar" was once used as a term for "whore." And Mercutio mentioned the tree in this context in Romeo and Juliet.

"If love be blind, love cannot hit the mark.(35)
Now will he sit under a medlar tree
And wish his mistress were that kind of fruit
As maids call medlars when they laugh alone.
O, Romeo, that she were, O that she were
An open et cetera, thou a pop'rin pear!(40)
Romeo, good night. I'll to my truckle-bed;
This field-bed is too cold for me to sleep.
Come, shall we go?"

I would LOVE to get my hands on a tree, but I can't seem to find a local nursery that has them for sale. I did find this nursery in northern california that I could order one from but they seem to be out of stock. Rolling River Nursery

If anyone knows where I can find one TELL ME. If I can find a place that sells them I'll share it here. And if anyone has ever had one fresh, please share your experience! Otherwise I'll keep checking back on Rolling River Nursery until I can get one of my own.


Anonymous said...

I had many medlar fruits :P, my uncle used to have a medlar tree, it's yummy and delicious, yes it somewhat tastes like apple sauce but the consistency is a bit thicker, browner and sweeter. It has 4-5 pits inside and it's definitely the best when it's over ripped. mmmmmm....mmmmm..... we call it mushmula (pronounced moosh-moola) ahahahah, I haven't had that fruit FOREVER, I almost forgot about it. thanks for reminding me of my childhood, ahahah ;) Let me know if you find one, I definitely want to eat one more moosh-moola

Anonymous said...

ahahaha, u were so fast, u already copied my comment :Pp
So the medlar fruits are a bit fuzzy, like a peach mini-fuzz, as they ripe their skin becomes smoother. Once they over ripe the skin is wrinkly. If you eat them too soon, they can taste a bit tarty. Once they are ripped they are mooshy and delicious. You can either peel the skin and get the whole thing in your mouth, sucking on the pits OR bite a top off and then squeeze the yumminess in your mouth and leave the pits in the skin. Either way, there is no wrong way of eating moosh-moola.

Mona Hsieh said...

kanzler pants, corona and i want to know how you're doing...

me said...

Have you tried the Japanese nursery on foothill in upland across from walmart? They are said to sell the best fruit trees in the area. I bought a weeping apricot tree there that is thriving. can't say the same about the cherry blossom I bought at the farmer's market.

G of P

Anduhrew said...

mona i'm doing ok. back pain is no fun. i got some meds though. GofP thanks I"ll check out the nursery today. I highly doubt they'll have it. I'd have to go to a rare fruit nursery. the ones i've been to don't have these usually the rare fruit places will carry lychee or starfruit or things along those lines. we'll see!

Robin said...

This discussion from 2006 mentions La Verne Nursery and medlars. Have you contacted the California Rare Fruit Growers? /load/fruit/msg1219153017702.html
(remove space when pasting to your browser window)

Can you tell me how to create a tiny url/link on Blogger replies? I've seen you do it. My technique from php forums does not work here. thanks!

Anduhrew said...

You know, someone else told me to check out La Verne Nursery for something else too. Their online catalogue doesn't show medlars but I'll have to go pay them a visit. Check this site for doing what you asked.
links codes

Robin said...

Thanks for the link! Bookmarked for future study.

Good luck with the medlars. The discussion has several good leads. Let us know more about La Verne Nursery when you find it. Sounds like a good local resource I'd like to visit.

Ian said...

I found your post when searching for forgotten fruits and vegetables. Basically foods that would never appear in a supermarket, but would be perfect for the home grower. Medlar is the one I knew of, from Shakespeare of all people, would you happen to know any more?

Anduhrew said...

I do know more. You can click on the forgotten fruits link on the right to see some other posts. I'll also be posting more in the future.

SocialSmithy said...

check out, located in Alamo, CA (where ever that is!). It sells Medlar trees.

Anonymous said...

I've found two nurseries online that sell them, One Green World and Ty Ty nursery. Ty Ty ships them. I believe you have to actually go to One Green World in Mollala, Oregon, which is what I plan to do. One Green World's Medlars are grafted on to a dwarf rootstock and they claim they only grow to about 10'. Ty Ty claims theirs grow to about 20'
Good luck, David

Viagra Online said...

when I visit Iran I saw this fruit but a women was using it to make some enchantments and she sell it in a black market.