Medlar– Mespilus germanica
This fruit will be ready to harvest once the first frost occurs, around the beginning of November. Before they are ready to eat, medlars must go through the ‘bletting’ process. What is bletting you ask?
‘[Medlars] become edible after being softened, ‘bletted’, by frost, or naturally in storage given sufficient time. Once softening begins the skin rapidly takes a wrinkled texture and turns dark brown, and the inside reduces to the consistency and flavour reminiscent of apple sauce. This process can be a cause of confusion to new medlar consumers, as a softened fruit can give the appearance that it has spoiled.’
Store medlars in a cardboard box at room temperature, in a dry place, stock end up to generate ‘bletting.’
Bletted medlars. Photo from http://www.tcpermaculture.com/
Sounds appetizing, doesn’t it. If you are adventurous, this might be just the thing for you to try.
You can collect rose hips from Springridge Common right now. Dry or dehydrate them for storage. These little guys are great to add to tea for a boost in vitamin C. Make sure to pick ones that are in good condition, some may be rotten.
Willow stems are great for making thing like furniture and baskets. Willow stops growing in November and can be harvested for use when the leaves have fallen off. When cutting back the stems make sure to cut at a 45 degree angle so water runs off the dormant ‘stool’.
Here is a great article for more info: www.primitiveways.com/coppicing.html
- Springridge is a public common garden.
- Please consider others when you harvest.
- Take care to avoid damaging plants and only take what you know you will use.