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Oct 21, 2007 10:02 PM

where to get Medlars, azgeel, nespola, nispero

Mail-order fresh Medlar fruits (azgeel in Farci, nespola in Italian, Mispeln in German, nispero in Spanish)
Mespilus germanica

Note that I am talking about medlars, the fruit of Mespilus germanica, NOT the little orange things called loquats, which is from Eriobotrya japonica, there is often confusion

One Green World in Molalla, Oregon; is a nursery but they also ship fresh medlars
(877) 353-4028 -
fruits through November 24, two pounds (minimum) by second day delivery, $24.95

Scott Farm, 707 Kipling Road, Dummerston, Vermont (802) 254-6868,
Call for availability and prices

Honey Bear Ranch in California - google them and you should get their website - they're in California so they should have them ready later in the season
Remember, medlars are “rotten before they’re ripe” – You need to let them sit at room temperature for a few weeks until they essentially go bad and look brown and ugly and deflated and are soft (this process is called “bletting”) – the flesh inside will turn from hard and white to brown and mushy. To eat, peel the skin starting from the open end, and spoon out the flesh – note that there will be four to six seeds embedded in the flesh.
Medlar trees are available for shipment from many nurseries, and are great trees to grow, even for those who aren’t dedicated to gardening, for several reasons:
-They are completely self-fertile, so you only need one tree (and having different varieties won’t even help)
-They can tolerate some shade
-are relatively tough and pest-free trees
-are relatively precocious – it’s common for a grafted tree to fruit on the second year!
-the fruits are hard and astringent until you harvest then blet them – so animals won’t eat the fruits before you do, so you don’t need to protect the tree from animals
-Are hardy to USDA Zone 5, so will grow over most of mainland America without protection from cold. USDA Zone 5 stops at around Southern Vermont. Of course the tree will not fruit in Hawaii or Southern Florida for lack of winter frost, and the hot, arid areas of the Southwest will be tough on the tree without plenty of irrigation. And while Southern California has a great climate in terms of temperatures, it has very little rain. But like apple trees, they are right at home in the Northeast, needing little irrigation there (only water when it’s really hot and/or hasn’t rained in a while). As a matter of fact, they grow wild throughout Europe and England and Southwest Asia.
-are very pretty, with a rustic sort of look – they’ll look great even in (if not especially in) the middle of a lawn. Both the flowers and the unique fruits look great on the tree, and the autumn colors are spectacular
- the fruit is picked late in the season – when the leaves on the tree start to fall, and then you have to take the time to blet it, after which it will last for a couple of weeks – so you’ll have fresh, good fruit in the dead of winter/autumn when nothing else is in season
-can be grafted onto apple, pear, quince, hawthorn (and of course medlar itself) – I would imagine that this means it could also be grafted on crabapple, and maybe Bradford pear (haven’t tried this yet) – so you likely already have a thriving, suitable rootstock tree

I encourage everyone to plant a medlar tree if they have land, even if you haven’t gardened before and don’t plan on taking care of the tree too much – with this tree you are likely to succeed.

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  1. by the way - I have yet to try these fruits, though I do have two trees planted in my backyard (they haven't fruited yet) - but my relatives used to eat them in Iran and liked them- so much so that my uncle ordered more than 10 pounds of them

    The descriptions I have read of the flavor include cinnamon-spiced apple sauce, a certain wine-y-ness from the fermentation/bletting, and one person on a blog or something said they tasted like finely orange-spiced chinese tea (the kind you get at chinese restaurants)

    1. This is fascinating. Thank you. Here in Rome, there are nespoli (the tree is masculine, the fruit feminine) growing around the city. I walk past several on the Aventine hill on my way to the Testaccio market. Nespole are usually the first fruit of the summer, but here they're eaten quite tart, though I had noticed that the worse they look the better they taste. I'll try bletting them next season. We have a nespolo in a pot on our terrace. It's a beautiful plant, about ten years old, but it has never shown the slightest interest in bearing fruit. Any tips?
      Is the loquat very different? Nespola is always to be translated as medlar?

      6 Replies
      1. re: mbfant

        first fruit of the summer? are you sure you're not talking about loquats? Medlars are winter fruits - you pick them just as the leaves start to fall off of the tree, and then you wait two to four weeks for it to blet, and by then it's winter, and they last a while once bletted. Medlars are brown and have an open "end" Loquats are orange and shaped like figs. The loquat is more commonly used as an ornamental tree. And Medlars cannot be eaten until bletted, otherwise like persimmons, they will be horribly bitter and astringent (NOT tart) - there is nobody who likes that flavor.

        Here I attached a picture of loquat fruit and medlar fruits. Again the ORANGE fruits are LOQUATS. The BROWN ugly ones are MEDLARS. The first picture is of loquats, the second medlars.

        1. re: peanuttree

          I have spent a lot of time in Italy and it is the yellow ones that I have seen for sale in markets as "nespole." They are yellow, fairly firm fleshed and a little tart. I also remember getting them in late spring/early summer. Don't know where the translation is getting messed up, but nespole in Italy are the yellow ones, I'm pretty sure...

          1. re: roma_girl

            Yes, those are loquats, but they're not what I'm talking about. Like I said, there is confusion, because in the European languages (other than English) loquats and medlars have the same or similar names - since the trees look alike - for example in English, loquats are sometimes called Japanese medlars.

            I didn't think people would get confused the way I wrote this - I MENTIONED that there is confusion in the names, and I rather specifically describe the medlar (I've never heard of another fruit that is "rotten before it's ripe").

            Call them what you want, it should be clear by now what fruit I am talking about.

            1. re: peanuttree

              Well when you mentioned confusion in names you gave the latin names. I was merely saying that IN Italy, the word nespola/nespole is used, in my experience, for the loquats, and not the medlars. I am NOT confused by the difference between the two, I was merely pointing out that in Italy that particular word is associated with the yellow fruit. Geez.

        2. re: mbfant

          Here I'll post pictures of the fruits/blossoms. The first two are of Medlar, the second two are of loquat. Notice that the medlar has little white, individual flowers with yellow stamens and pistils, whereas the loquats flower and fruit in bunches.

          1. re: mbfant

            First make sure you know which fruit it is you have on your patio, and then I will tell you what is wrong.

          2. What I wouldn't do for some nespole right about now! The ones I ate in Sicily were bright orange, right off the tree, and not too tart. This was in May. Can I really get them here?

            1 Reply
            1. re: vvvindaloo

              Aren't they amazing? I have tried in vain to find nespole (what OP maintains are loquats and NOT medlars) in Seattle. They're kind of like a firm apricot that is less sweet and I love them! If you find a source, let me know...

            2. you guys have never found loquats? that's weird because I HAVE seen and bought them - even in shop rite! I'm in northern New Jersey.

              Try asking the produce section managers in markets. Look for them in early summer, maybe even late fall for where you are, because you have to understand, loquats are weird in that they flower BEFORE winter, and then the blossoms need to survive winter, and THEN are pollinated and fruit just as the weather warms back up. This explains why they're so hard to get - they can only fruit in Southern California and Florida (in terms of places in the mainland United States). And remember, these are warmer areas than more northerly places like Seattle and NYC, so their Spring/Summer starts earlier.

              Also try looking in the Chinatowns of whatever cities/towns you are in; the Chinese eat this fruit (it comes from there originally).

              1. The original comment has been removed