12th September 2017

Medlar: Before the availability of sugar,  Medlars were a favoured winter fruit for the early Greeks, Romans and widespread in medieval England. Its importance can be seen from the number of times it is mentioned in Shakespeare’s plays, as well as by Chaucer, (The Reeves Tale) and, due to its shape,  said to be like a dog’s bottom, many of the quotes are vulgar! Its characteristic of being very hard until ‘bletted’ by frost, when it quickly rots, meant it was also used as an insult, as in The Honest Whore, by Dekker, who writes, about a woman, ‘no sooner ripe than rotten’ and Shakespeare, in Measure for Measure, “they would else have married me to the rotten medlar” (these are the least offensive!) That is no reason not to grow this beautiful small tree, with a large, single white flower, attractive to insects, or to use the fruit to make ‘cheese’ and jelly. Conditions: cloud and sun, with rain later. Temperature: Max 16- Min 10c.

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2 thoughts on “12th September 2017

  1. This post was particularly interesting to me as I have just picked some medlars from a tree here in the Lot et Garonne in SW France where I am lucky enough to live. I really knew very little about them other than there were some rather vulgar connotations attached to them!

    I have been reading your lovely and informative blog for several years now. I have a little dog and it so enjoyable to explore the countryside with him, and with your help learn about the wonderful plants and birds surrounding us. Your blog was introduced to me by my Scottish cousin Alison Telfer, whom I believe is a friend of yours from her Sheffield days?

    Best wishes, Julia

    On 9/12/17, Sheffield city nature diary by Penny Philcox

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  2. How lovely, Julia. I had no idea the blog was being followed in such a beautiful part of the world and am really glad you find them stimulating. Medlars are such fascinating things- good recipes and help with preparation on line. Thanks for responding. We has the pleasure of giving Alison a meal recently- lovely to see her looking well

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