Medlar and Rosemary Jelly
The great thing about this recipe is that there is no real need to wait for your medlars to blet i.e. for the flesh to turn brown and soften, which can take a week or two. Nor is there any need for the tedious task of scooping out the flesh – just slice your medlars in half and boil them. Adding fresh rosemary sprigs – an excellent tip from my food-writer colleague Hattie Ellis – gives extra depth to the flavour.
medlars about 1 kg
The amount of sugar depends on the volume of liquid from the cooked medlars i.e. if you have 800ml of liquid, you will need 800g of sugar.
Makes enough to fill 4–5 medium-sized jars
lemons juice of 2
rosemary sprigs sprigs a few
1) Rinse the medlars, slice them in half and tip into a roomy saucepan. Pour in enough water to just cover. Bring to the boil, then simmer until soft – about 40 minutes or a bit longer, depending on the age of the fruit.
2) Dampen a jelly bag, or several layers of muslin (see Cook’s tip below). Suspend over a large bowl, making sure the bottom of the bag is well clear of the bowl.
3) Pour the cooked medlars and their liquid into the bag. Leave to drip, undisturbed, for about 8 hours. Don’t squeeze the bag or your jelly will be cloudy.
4) Measure the liquid then pour it into a large saucepan. Add an equal amount of sugar, along with the juice of 2 lemons and a few sprigs of fresh rosemary. Stir over medium heat until the sugar has dissolved. Bring to the boil, then boil rapidly until set – 105°C on a sugar thermometer, or a teaspoonful wrinkles when dropped on to a chilled plate.
5) Use a large metal spoon to skim off any froth. Fish out the rosemary sprigs, scrape off the leaves and stir them back into the liquid. Discard the woody stems.
6) Pour into warm sterilized jars, filling them to within 1cm of the top pf the jar. Cover with a waxed paper disc then seal.
||If you don’t have a jelly bag, improvise with 6–8 large squares of muslin, layered and tied to the legs of an upturned stool.
||You will need warm sterilized jars with lids. Either wash them in the dishwasher, or wash by hand using very hot soapy water. Dry them in a low oven, rather than using a non-sterile tea towel. Keep the jars warm while you make the jelly.
Recipe © Christine McFadden, November 2022