Medlars are old-fashioned fruit shaped like large rose-hips and the colour of unripe russet apples. They are very hard and should be gathered when fully formed, then kept for some weeks until soft or ‘bletted’, when the flesh will be brown. For the jam, scrape the pulp from very ripe medlars and cook very gently until soft, adding very little water if necessary so that they do not burn. Sieve and weigh the pulp. Add 12oz/350g sugar for each 1lb/500g fruit pulp. Stir over low heat until the sugar has dissolved. Put in the vanilla pod, and boil hard to setting point, stirring well. Take out the vanilla pod, pour into hot jars and cover.
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