Thursday, 4 December 2008
The curious medlar
It certainly is a cuiosity these days, which is a real shame. When you see it written about, it's always attached to "long-forgotten" or "not much grown now" or "the forgotten fruit" or somesuch. Not in this house! I always wanted a medlar and a quince when I had room, and I now have both. The two above are, sadly, two thirds of the total crop this year; it wasn't a good eyar for top fruit, including the medlar. We had a good crop last year, and I made medlar jelly. I say jelly, but after reading an article by Linda Luard (great fan of hers here!), turns out I made medlar honey, which is fine by me. Teh Rayburn is difficult to get to a high heat and keep there, so my jelly-making is a bit hit and miss, but if I call them fruit honeys instead, problem sorted! They still taste as good, just a little runny honey-ish.
Back to the medlar - it's a lovely, small, slightly eccentric lokking tree with exquisite blossom in the spring of a pale pinky white. The fruits form over the summer, and are left on the treee to "blett' - turned soft and mushy by the frosts, when they are deemed fit to eat. To me, they taste fig-like.I can't remember teh exact translation, but the French word for them is soemthing to do with a dog's bottom, which I feel is very apt, given their shape! Always makes me laugh.
I'm optimistic that next eyar will be a great eyar for fruit, and I'll get lots of medlar honey made LOL.
Nowhere near as curious, but just as nice in the kitchen is one of my favourite herbs, the rather gorgeous parsley - I use huge amounts of it; this bunch was picked on Tuesday, and it stands well right through the winter before going to seed in the early summer.
There's an old saying that parsley will only thrivve in a house where the wife "wears the "wife wears the trousers". Mine always does very well, can't think why LOL.
Always use fresh seed to sow, and cover the sown seed with a little boiling water before covering over with soil or compost. Prick out in groups of two or three seddlings. If happy, it will self seed, and hoveflies love the flowers. It lsoes a lot of its oomph if it's dried, but freezes well, like I did teh basil, in ice cube trays with a little water.
Parsley makes and excellent wine, crisp and light. There are quite a few varieties available, my favourite is the Moss Curled one, dark green and full of flavour.
Also good in savoury baking - try it in cheese scones, cobblers, vegetable crumbles, etc. Indispensable for teh top of winter soups too, and in white sauce for broad beans or white fish.
Posted by MrsL at 07:58