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Medlar Jelly

Last week at Hartley Farm they had a basket of medlars. How strange to have a fruit that has to go bad (i.e. “bletted”) before you can use it. Bletting means leaving them to ripen to excess so that their flesh becomes brown and soft and delicate to the touch. The reason for this is that the unripe fruit is too astringent to eat.

Hartley medlars

The medlar was a popular fruit in Victorian times in Britain. It’s a pretty garden fruit tree with very odd shaped fruit hence it’s rather unfortunate common name of “ cats arse or open arse”. Medlars make a rich flavoured jelly, an excellent lift to roasted vegetables.

We'd love to find some more creative uses for medlars. Heavenly Hedgerows are bottling theirs into a liqueur for Indie Spirit Bath. Bristol blogger Food with Mustard tweeted us about a medlar tart she had with spices and cream (we found a similar sounding medlar tart recipe from Dove's Farm). Any other suggestions?

Medlar jelly


  • 1 kg bletted medlars
  • ½ litre water
  • 1kg granulated sugar


  1. Cut medlars into quarters and place in a saucepan with the water.
  2. Bring to the boil and simmer until the fruit is very soft.
  3. Strain the liquid off through a fine sieve (it is not necessary to use a jelly bag, but you can if you prefer). Measure the liquid and return it to the saucepan.
  4. Add a kilo of sugar to a litre of juice (or pro rata). Boil vigorously until setting point and bottle.
  5. Serve with roast vegetables or cheese.

Recipe from Christopher Robbins

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