IV: Medlar

A gross-looking fruit that fell way out of fashion.

IV: Medlar
A medlar fruit. Photo by Rictor Norton & David Allen.

Good morning. Today is quartidi, the 4th of Frimaire, Year CCXXXI. We celebrate la nèfle, a winter fruit with an obscene appearance. If you're looking for Turkey Day, it was a few weeks ago.

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We're going to dive deep into the edible part, but let's pause to take stock of the shrub, a native of the Balkan region of Europe. Like its fruit, it's hard to describe without sounding a little gross. It doesn't live long, and its bark has a gray tinge. The bark also tends to flake off, like trunk dandruff. Natural varieties grow thorns and in gnarled shapes. 

The poor medlar. A hugely popular fruit in medieval times, it's always had an image problem. I started this newsletter because my day job forces me to write in bulleted lists all day and I just wanted to type paragraphs again, but the roster of medlar nicknames demands a bulleted list, so here it is, with apologies: