The slightly acid taste of the fruit of the medlar tree is not brought out until the fruit – which is hard and green when gathered – has been stored for two or three weeks and allowed to become over-ripe. Indeed, it is off the eating list until that stage has been reached. The medlar is also used for making jelly.
It is easy to grow, its chief requirements being shelter from piercing winds and soil that- is well drained.
Ready for Use. Fruit is ready for eating in late November or December. Varieties are Royal (this begins to bear fruit when quite young), Dutch, Nottingham. Plants are obtainable as standards, pyramids and bush trees.
The medlar is not particular as to soil, though this must be well drained. If the ground loses moisture easily in dry weather the site should be prepared by deep digging, plenty of old manure, or rotted vegetation, being worked in throughout the full dug depth. A surface covering of manure, or lawn mowings (put down wet and thickly), over the area occupied by the roots, is of considerable assistance on light soil in dry spring and summer weather.
When and How to Plant.
Trees get away readily when planting is done in February or March. Method of planting, staking, etc.., is explained in the section THE ABC OF PLANTING.
The medlar should be shaped and pruned as described under APPLE.
Increase is by grafting on a pear stock, as explained in the section How TO PROPAGATE FRUIT TREES AND BUSHES.
Gathering the Fruit.
The hard and green fruits should be picked round about mid-November, or earlier if frost comes, and placed in store for ripening as explained below.
The fruit needs protection against damp or it will go rotten. It should be placed on a shelf, in single layers only, with the wide eye downwards until the- medlars have become brown and soft. They are then fit for use. The indoor ripening process usually occupies a fortnight at least before it is completed.