thanks everyone - it is a medlar tree, not a loquat - it is a good looking small tree and so maybe we will enjoy the aesthetics rather than get excited abouth the fruit. However, if we get to make anything out of the fruit, we will let you know - we are in southern England by the way
Hugh Fearnley Whittingstall did an episode where he made medlar jam and chutney. Here are the recipes:
I deducted from your profile that you're in the UK - you can actually watch the episode on the Channel 4 OD player. Here's a link to the series:
Good luck! I'm super jealous - haven't been able to find them in CA. :-(
Here's a gardening link with some ripening/handling info (you have to "blett the medlar") and a few recipes. There are more recipes on the web, mostly from UK sites:
I had never heard of medlars until a mention in a chow thread this year; the poster wrote that medlars contain lots of pectin, and she or family members had one in the backyard in Indiana (USA). I think the fruit is more popular in Europe, where I believe you're posting from. It's not a fruit that will ever be produced for the commercial market in the US, due to it's unusual ripening process, and I may not ever be able to taste one, but you can do it for me. Enjoy!
I have tasted medlars in Italy, and I think that one of the reasons that the fruit has not crossed the Atlantic is due to the fact that it is a small fruit that is almost entirely seed. The taste of the fruit itself was not memorably delicious and wasn't something I particularly wanted to eat again.
Good to know, sounds like I'm not missing much. The name of the fruit and the "bletting" process and all that surrounding it sounds like a Middle Ages throwback somehow. Apparently the fruit was quite a bit more popular then than it is today. Medlars were written about by Chaucer, Shakespeare and Cervantes, among others, and not necessarily in glowing terms, but not due to their taste.
I noticed a site that stated that the medlar is another name for a loquat; it's actually the Japanese loquat that's also sometimes referred to as a medlar, but that's not the same as the European Mespilus medlar cultivar, which is related to the rose family. That leaves me to wonder which variety the OP has, although I think it's too chilly for loquats to thrive in the UK and from what I've read, the other variety of medlar seems to be popular there.