Medlars - fresh fruit in winter

Who’s growing medlars, and what do you have to share about growing, bletting, processing, etc.?

Theres only a light crop of medlars this year, but it sure is nice to have fresh fruit at the end of December. Theyre much maligned. I think theyre really tasty if a bit fiddly to eat. Ive learned the best way to blet them is also tge easiest- just let them hang until they’re prime. They make a great fruit paste run through the foley mill. No cooking necessary, unless you want to heat them to dissolve some extra sugar.

The big one is Monstreuse and the smaller one is Breda Giant. Theyre both a little small this year. The Breda Giants are a bit drier and can be peeled whole.


Those look great! I have yet to sample a medlar, do you find much difference in taste between varieties? What do you do with the fruit paste? Are there certain recipes that they go well in?

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Mine have not fruited yet, but they are about 6 ft tall now. Maybe next year. I have the exact two varieties you have; great minds I guess.:blush:


Mine fruited the first time this year. I’m going to look into the big one you showed. It’s almost twice as big. Nice to have fruit hanging around long after the show is over.


Here is my first year fruit next to a Rosseanka.


My wife & I were just laughing about how many things we eat that are more brown than family or friends eat: whole grain bread we mill at home, fruit/cream pies that color when done, soup, fruit cake made with applesauce (especially tart red-fleshed apples). Medlar would fit that theme, if I could find space to grow it.


I love medlars! I do not have a tree but a friend does. I just picked about 20-25 lbs of soft fruit from his trees and they are now in the freezer!


I got Monstreusse from GRIN soms years back. Also received an Italian variety called Puciolot and the most popular cultivar, perhaps, Dutch. There’s another giant fruited cultivar from Russia that goes by ‘Russian Giant’ or ‘Large Russian’ that Ive been wanting to acquire. GRIN no longer distributes that variety, perhaps because (as I found out reading some of the nitty gritty details) its been found to carry a virus of some sort. I forget the details, but though listed in their accessions, it says “unavailable” when you try to request it.

there are a lot of things to like about medlar, among which is the fact that its such a handsome and compact specimen. Theyre easily kept to 8 ft tall, with quite a small bushy crown that has a lovely twisted and somewhat unkempt form. The flowers are nearly 2” across, and of course the fruit hangs well after the leaves are gone, so its a tree that adds a lot and asks very little.

I was only intending to grow one medlar initially, mainly as a curiosity. I soon discovered though that my land is a treasure trove of volunteer hawthorns, which it turns out make excellent medlar rootstock. I probably have 10-15 medlar trees currently. Truthfully Ive sort of lost count. Only 3 or 4 are producing nicely to date. The deer are quite fond of them, so some of the more wayward trees are still trying to get going.


When you put it through the mill did you just squeeze out the guts? I’m dying to make some jam from them.

It was a novelty for me as well. Now I’m planning on the next variety. At the moment I have Puciu Mol and Breda Giant. I’m getting more, but have to fit a quince in there somewhere too. Call it the fire blight patch.


I usually just put them in whole and raw. The hardest part is the seeds are like little pebbles. They make it a little challenging, otherwise it would be a snap.

Ive played with different variations-,adding sugar and various spices like cinnamon, nutmeg, and ginger. Ive reduced it down until it sets like membrillo and also kept it as a thick applesauce consistency. Fruit leather too. All are good. Its quite tasty when rendered into a more easily consumed form. That said, there’s something lovely about XC skiing by the bush and grabbing a couple to eat right then and there.


I put in a medlar this year and am looking forward to the harvest. Someone in our area has one and says the fruit left in the tree survives temperatures down in the low teens and doesn’t belt until February. It would be very interesting to have fresh fruit in late winter.


I have an Monstrueuse de Evreinoff medlar, and a Breda Hardy Giant in my yard. My Breda set about 30 or so fruit this season. I ate a few that I bletted, and managed to make one quart of medlar cheese. I much more enjoyed the cheese (preserves / Jam) than the fresh fruit.


They have the Large Russian. They have the Monstreusse as well. Are you doing any trades this year?

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Im usually always game

Can any of you describe the taste of medlar ?

Is there much difference in the taste of different varieties ?

Your favorites ?

I found this online…

Medlars can be grafted onto medlar rootstock , but are more commonly grafted onto quince, hawthorn, or pear rootstock.

I have a good supply of callery pear on my place… that I can dig up / transplant and graft to.

Medlar on callery rootstock … does that work ?


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Great minds…thinking the same thing

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TNHunter: I’m thinking along similar lines, although out here the rootstock that grows wild is Douglas hawthorn & the even thornier Columbia hawthorn.

I planted two Breda Giants. One didn’t return for a third year after never fully recovering from a deer attack. The other startles me with its resilience given that Medlar appear to be magnets for both apple scab and Japanese Beetles. If it matures, I’m afraid its main benefit may be as a trap and/or indicator crop.

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My thought in testing a few was as a possible bark graft for my native hawthorns. More research leads me to believe this is not workable due to differential growth between the scion and rootstock. The best option is to graft Medlar very low on the hawthorn, then mound up so the Medlar itself can set roots- not the solution I was hoping for.

Medlar grafts quite nicely on our endemic hawthorns. The overgrowth and delayed incompatibility you mention @scottmartin49 seems more typical of pear on hawthorn. I cant speak to every combination, but Ive yet to notice an issue after ~12 years.