Monday, May 30, 2011


I planted a Medlar tree last year.  I had heard that they have lovely autumn foliage and that the branches laden with fruit look good in a vase.  It has grown beautifully thanks to a wet summer that was not too hot.

As I am incapable of letting any food source go to waste I thought I should find some way of cooking them.  A little googling taught me that medlars need to be "bletted" before they are eaten.  I was instructed to sit them on a bed of straw for two weeks to let them soften.

They were used in the Middle Ages as a fruit, in jams and jellies and as a liqueur.  I loved the idea of of a liqueur that could be put in a hip flask and taken shooting, or that would go well with cheese.  I found a recipe for Medlar Liqueur in the wonderful book on preserves A Year in a Bottle by Sally Wise, a very clever lady from Tasmania.  If you ever get the urge to preserve anything, this is the ultimate guide.  She says the liqueur has the "lingering flavour of fruit salad heavily laced with dates and honey".  I can hardly wait.  I will let you know how I get on once the bletting stage is over.

The other thing I have had a go at is Vanilla Essence.  I read about it out in blog world (can't remember where) and it is simply a matter of shoving a few vanilla pods in a bottle and covering with vodka.

You then leave it in a dark place for 6-8 weeks, shaking once a week.  Hunt around for reasonably priced vanilla beans....they can be extortionately expensive.  I found these at Cliffys in Daylesford when passing through the other day.  The guy there said his brother imports them and they were $2 each.  I have seen them for as much as $5.

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