We already spoke in its day about the Japanese medlar and its growing fame among greengrocers and consumers and we saw a little the difference between this and the common medlar. Today we have to leave a hole for the latter, which although less known, turns out to be a fruit with a high content of tannins, so much so that they should be eaten in moderation. Let’s see what we can get out of them.
ALTHOUGH THE JAPANESE MEDLAR IS MORE FAMOUS, WE CANNOT FORGET THE COMMON MEDLAR
Although we call the two trees medlar, they have nothing to do with each other. We already talked about some of the differences between them in the entry of the Japanese medlar. They are not the same gender, nor are they alike, nor do they know alike. The climatic and soil conditions are not either, so they have the name and the family ( Rosaceae) in common . The common medlar or European medlar ( Mespillus germanica L. ) comes from Eastern Europe and given its ornamental and fruit value , its cultivation spread to the rest of Europe a few centuries ago (from Classical Greece). Its use as a fruit tree is unimportant due to its indigestible character if they are not completely overripe.. The appearance of the overripe fruit in both texture and flavor does not shade the very tasty Japanese medlar fruit. They are not comparable, but it is a fruit and it deserves that we talk about it like all the others because it is disappearing and fewer and fewer people know about it.
It is a shrub or small tree that is acclimatized and grows best in temperate climates . It does not suffer from frost because its flowering is rather late (late spring). From that moment on, there will be a staggered flowering and fruit set that we can collect throughout the fall . While it prefers semi-shady conditions, it will tolerate direct exposures without too much trouble. Maybe it suffers a bit in summers too much in summers in hot areas.
You have to be careful with too alkaline soils and the appearance of chlorosis . It is tolerant to different soil conditions but the best of the fruits are the looser and fresher the soils are. the pH can be both slightly acidic and basic. We should not be too concerned about this aspect.
It will be one of the first fruits for which you will not have to worry about watering at all. Only when the specimen is young to help it root properly but once it is an adult, its rustic character makes it perfect to forget about both irrigation and fertilization.
THE MOST IMPORTANT THING: KNOWING WHEN AND HOW TO EAT LOQUATS
If you do not know when to eat a common medlar, you can be very disappointed if you collect them thinking that they are already ripe. Its flavor will be so acidic that it will even be unpleasant for you. The key to enjoying it naturally is over- ripening . The medlar should be left on the tree for as long as possible and once collected it should be stored in straw or covered with a cloth and left to almost ferment. Over time it acquires a brownish color and the pulp softens and it will be when they sweeten and we can eat them. In the areas of greatest consumption (southeast Europe in general) they are usually used to make jams, preserves and liqueurs based on this fruit.
Very mature common medlar
A moderate consumption is always recommended even if they are overripe. It has a very high tannin content and its abuse can be very, very indigestible . But it’s great !!