Hardly anyone you know has ever seen a Medlar Tree that grows in almost all of the United States being a very cold hardy fruit surviving cold temperatures of minus 25 degrees Fahrenheit below zero. The Medlar fruit grows to about the size of a large plum and matures into a chocolate color with an exciting aroma and a flavor that is indescribably delicious and pleasing to your senses. Most fruit growers prefer to let the Medlar fruit remain on the tree until past the last frost. You pick it once its ripe, soft, and ready to eat.
How to Plant a Medlar Tree
Cold Hardy Medlar Tree
The medlar grows into a small pest free tree to 20 feet or into a large bush that is deciduous in nature. The leaves are 1 to 1 ½ inches wide and 2-6 inches long with a bright waxy-green color, and during the fall the medlar leaves turn into a yellow blaze then a spectacular red color.
New hybrid Medlar fruits are indescribably delicious and grow to the size of a large plum, being cold hardy to temperatures of minus 25 degrees F. below zero and adaptable to grow in almost every states from zones 4-9.
Fruits that ripen in the winter are rare in the U.S., but the Medlar fruit develops a unique complexity of flavors if left on the tree after the first winter freeze and after the leaves have fallen off the tree.
The medlar fruit stands out as unique among the world's amazing fruit selections. This unusual fruit tree is rare in America for some unexplained, unknown reason that produces one of those “never-heard-of” fruits with a powerful musky, fruity aroma and a flavor that Ty Ty describes as a combination of the tastes of fig, kumquat, loquat and Persian dates. The consistency of the pulp is like baked sweet potatoes, the color of brown sugar and many subtle overtones of over-ripe, white or green grapes. Other observers describe the taste of the medlar fruit as similar to chocolate pudding or spiced apple sauce, however, these later descriptions are exceeding lacking and oversimplified because of the combination and complexity of several flavors merged into an indescribable pleasurable and aromatic bliss. Notable French chefs have described the medlar fruit as “fruit de fantaisie” and in California where some fruit can be bought at local gourmet stores, the price exceeds $4.00 per pound.
For many centuries the medlar fruit was extensively grown in Europe for winter eating before refrigeration was invented, and then the medlar fruit flavor seemed to benefit from frosts and freezes on the trees- much as the Japanese persimmon and some pears do in America. The medlar is astringent much like the Tanenashi persimmon cultivar and green pears, and the fruit can be picked off the tree in December when hard and allowed to ripen and soften until the full flavors and aromas develop fully. The fruit can also be eaten when left on the tree to soften after frost, and the medlar loses its astringency. In Europe this softening of the medlar fruit is called the “bletting” process, whether left on the tree to soften or to pick off the tree prematurely to ripen later. As the amazing green medlar fruit ripens, the interior of the fruit is white that dramatically changes color to that of brown sugar.
In European Royal Courts the medlar was considered the ideal fruit to accompany drinking the finest wines, and French chefs view the smokey earthy taste of the medlar fruit to be equivalent to expensive gourmet items such as the mushroom, truffles, morels, and cavier. Other uses of the medlar fruit is in the preparation of preserves, syrups, tarts, pies and jelly. In Europe the medlar is used as a winter dessert by roasting the fruit in butter and cloves.
The medlar grows into a small pest free tree to 20 feet or into a large bush that is deciduous in nature. The leaves are 1 to 1 ½ inches wide and 2-6 inches long with a bright waxy-green color, and during the fall the medlar leaves turn into a yellow blaze then a spectacular red color. The leaf underside is silver in color. The medlar tree is remarkably cold hardy surviving temperatures of minus 25 degrees F and appears to grow well in all the U.S. States from zones 4 to 9, however, to set fruit some cold temperatures are always required to be near freezing. Very few fruit trees are adaptable to such wide temperature fluctuations as the medlar tree, and the plant is very slow growing but adapted to most soil types that are well drained. The Medlar tree itself is considered to be one of the most beautifully formed landscape specimens and is well adapted for pot culture, to handily be used as a patio plant.
The Medlar tree is virtually unknown among fruit growers in the United States, but in Europe and the Mideast especially Iran, Iraq and Turkey, the medlar has been grown as a home orchard fruit for centuries, and it is one of the few winter trees that offers a delicious aromatic fruit for winter consumption. Because the Medlar tree is so cold hardy, it often bears fruit when most other fruit trees fail to produce because of late spring frosts or freezing temperatures. The medlar fruit ripens late in the fall and usually ripens over a long period of time, as late as December in Columbus, Georgia, after Japanese persimmons have finished ripening.
Historically the Medlar tree originated in the Mideast where it grows profusely in Turkey, Armenia, and all along the coastline of the Caspian sea in Iran, the Medlar trees grow as native plants to feed Arab populations during the winter. It is amazing to observe such a cold hardy fruit tree as the Medlar growing in the Southern U.S. along side tropical fruits such as guavas and bananas. Not only is the medlar cold hardy in most U.S. States, but it flourishes in British Columbia, Canada.
Historians of plants believe that the Medlar trees were cultivated by the Greeks in colonies (now Turkey), and the plants were spread later by Roman conquerers to Germany (Gaul), where they were given their latin (Roman) name, Mespilus germanicus. The medlars were first cultivated in the Mideast in about 300 BC and later established by distributing seed throughout Europe, and especially prized as a winter fruit in England. The seed of the medlar fruit look like an enlarged grape seed, and when planted produce trees that are sometimes thorny, sometimes thornless. The medlar fruit is quite variable from seedlings in fruit size, quality and productivity, and therefore, named thornless cultivars that are grafted onto rootstock of hawthorne quince or pear that is a close genetic relative.
The Medlar tree produces white fragrant flowers that age into a pink glowing fruit, and Medlar trees are self fertile, requiring no pollination. A 5-6 ft tree often will bear little fruit the first year after planting. The wood of Medlar trees is extremely hard, and in Europe has been often used in making such objects as walking sticks, spear points and many other wood crafts. In some cultures the loquat (Eriobotrya japonica) is called the Japanese medlar. The European medieval cultures considered the medlar to have many health benefits such as removing kidney stones and treating stomach problems like diarrhea.
Hardly anyone you know has ever seen a Medlar tree that grows in almost all of the United States, being a very cold hardy fruit surviving cold temperatures of minus 25 degrees Fahrenheit below zero. The Medlar fruit grows to about the size of a large plum and matures into a chocolate color with an exciting aroma and a flavor that is indescribably delicious and pleasing to your senses. Most fruit growers prefer to let the Medlar fruit remain on the tree until past the last frost and pick it once it is ripe, soft, and ready to eat. The Medlar fruit develops a unique and complex combination of flavors when it is fully ripe and is best to eat fresh off the tree but tasty when stewed, roasted or cooked into pies or jelly. The Medlar tree is a spectacular specimen when planted in your garden and during the fall leaf color change, the leaves turn from a waxy green to blazing orange red and silver before dropping off the tree and exposing multiple Medlar hanging on the tree, until they are picked, after the softness means the fruit is ready to be eaten. The Medlar tree can grow to about 12-15 feet at a slow rate and often Medlars can be grown on these trees the first year, if the tree is about 5 feet in height. If you like growing delicious fruit of experimenting with new varieties that are rare to find and easy to grow, the Medlar tree is an excellent choice for your garden. Planting time for Medlars is now and Ty Ty Nursery is offering free shipping on you order now and that means a savings of 25 percent. Plant your trees now so that your tree roots can become fully established and possibly eat fresh Medlars that are trees that are guaranteed to grow and live the first year of planting. Don't miss another season and the opportunity to grow your own Medlar trees this year. Medlar trees are ready for you to order for immediate shipment.