Ever eaten a Medlar? Ever enjoyed quince jelly? Ever even seen a Service Fruit? Fewer and fewer people are able to answer yes to these questions which is a shame because they were once very popular.
Medlar, Service and Quince are three rarely seen trees that grow wonderfully well in most of the UK. However because their fruits don’t keep well, you never see them in shops (aside from the odd jar of Quince Jelly) and so their popularity has slowly declined.
This can be seen as a shame but equally could be viewed as a great opportunity to enjoy a pleasure known to only a select few.
If you plant a service or quince or medlar tree you will be able to enjoy a harvest of rare fruits for decades to come.
Quince is the best known of the three and as I mentioned you can pop to the supermarket and get some quince jelly to taste. It is highly perfumed, sweet and delicious.
Medlars may look like they have a bum and the fruit pulp is the wrong shade of brown but the taste is exceptional. Tangy, warming with spicy notes a blotted medlar is a taste of heaven. It is also a blast from the past as this fruit was enjoyed by the ancient Greeks and Romans too.
Medlars are self fertile and not that bothered about where they are planted so chuck one in the ground and see what you get.
Like the Medlar the Service fruit is ancient and looks similar to a pear. However high acidity and tannins need to be bletted out before you can eat the wonderfully flavoured pulp. It tasted just like spiced pear.
So, just because the supermarket cannot make money from them is no reason for us to forego the pleasure of enjoying these great gifts from nature. Plant a Quince Medlar or Service tree and enjoy some decidedly different fruits.