Monthly Archives: November 2014

moseying with medlars….

I am a big fan of moseying; it is very underrated in this digital age where everything happens so quickly.  Well, today I had the opportunity to indulge in a bit of moseying.

I am also a great, great fan of the medlar tree but I’ve never had enough crop to do anything with – until now.  Some weeks back I picked the golden fruits.  You can leave them to ripen on the tree but as my medlars were already starting to drop I decided to gather them in.  The OH spread the medlars on a wooden slatted tray lined with newspaper and placed them in the apple store in one of the outbuildings, (any cool, dry place would do).  They were left to ripen (blet).



When ripe the fruit are soft, squidgy and they turn a rusty brown colour, (I probably could have left them to rot a bit longer).  A quick weigh, rinse and I was ready to go.  Having never made a medlar preserve I did a quick recce of recipes. The medlar is a low acid, low pectin fruit and so needs a hit of citric acid to help increase acidity which in turn works with the fruit pectin to form insoluble fibres.  This promotes the set.  So, armed with my bit of research, for every kg of fruit I added:

30ml of lemon juice and bunged in the lemon skins as well for the first simmer; 0.5 tsp cinnamon, (allspice is an alternative), and enough water to cover the fruit.



I left the preserve pan to simmer away for about an hour.  The next bit takes some time so I made a pot of tea and caught up on Radio 4 listening whilst I pushed the pulp through a sieve:


I added 3/4 in weight of sugar to the ml of puree – hence for my 1litre of puree I added 750g of sugar.  I dissolved the sugar and then boiled hard for 10 minutes stirring all the while.


My batch made 4 and half jars of medlar jam.


So that’s Christmas sorted for some lucky, lucky people.  Next year I fancy making some of these little medlar cheeses:

Reading this week: 30 years at Ballymaloe by Darina Allen








poppy field

look for the bare necessities….

Temperatures have dropped and so have the leaves. We have entered the start of the ‘bare root season’, the best time, in my humble opinion,  to buy & plant deciduous trees (fruit/ornamental), soft fruit and hedging – better establishment and better on the pocket.

Some weeks back,  having decided to jettison the summer raspberries, I ordered 10 canes of ‘Joan J’.  They arrived yesterday and we got them in the ground today before the winds hit. The roots were soaked in a bucket until time for planting – each cane was lifted out and planted with the roots just a few inches below the surface.  Spaced 2′ apart, well watered in and then top dressed with a compost mulch.


I’ve not used mycorrhizal granules on the roots this time; recent research on urban tree planting seems to indicate that commercial formulations don’t make that much difference to subsequent establishment and that most soils have perfectly okay populations of the fungi anyway, (see here for the paper$FILE/Trees-people-and-the-buit-environment_Watson.pdf).  A tree expert and nurseryman I know described the addition of retail mixes of mycorrhizal fungi as akin to using ‘snake oil’!  Perhaps if the RHS hadn’t branded ‘Rootgrow’ there might be more prominent discussion on the matter.  Either way it will be interesting to see have to see how these new plantings get on.  I fully expect them to perform as well as the ‘Polka’.


Once the weather set in I skedaddled indoors and set about thinking what other ‘necessities’ might be required.  The list, (hello Santa), includes – but is not necessarily limited to, some more cider apples varieties; some more hazels/filberts cultivars and a mulberry, (Wellington or Chelsea). to replace the ‘skip’ specimen that never amounted to much.

simply the simple bare necessities!