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Articles - A Healthy Diet:

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Culinary uses

Medlars are have been all but forgotten although these healthy fruits taste tart, fresh and pleasantly acidic. They are usually made into preserves, jellies, jams, juices or liqueurs. To prepare delicious stewed medlars, the fruits are quartered and boiled in a small amount of water for ten minutes, until tender. The fruit purée is then passed through a sieve and flavoured with a little lemon juice, cinnamon and fresh ginger. Medlars are also good companions to quinces and pears and are an interesting addition to fruit salads and to spicy poultry dishes.

Origins, family and appearance

The “common medlar” (Mespilus germanica) is a very old shrub that originated in west Asia. The small tree or shrub grows to a height of two to six metres and is ideal for small urban gardens. The medlars remain on the branch after the leaves have fallen and soften only after they have been exposed to frost or after having been stored for four weeks.

Buying and storing medlars; what to look for

Common medlars are rarely to be found in shops and are most commonly available at farmers’ markets. Japanese medlars (Eriobotrya japonica), or loquats, which grow in Mediterranean countries such as Spain and Turkey, are easier to find. The walnut-size fruits are a brownish yellow colour, have a firm flesh and can be eaten as they are. The brown marks are not a sign of rot, but of the ideal degree of ripeness. Slits are made in the rough skin so that it can be removed. Then the large pips are discarded. Medlars can be stored for close to a week in the vegetable-crisper drawer in the fridge.

 

Source: Heike Kreutz, www.aid.de