In April, the medlar season begins in Crete. Really, this unique tree blooms in autumn and treats with its fruits in early spring.
In Crete grows the so-called Japanese medlar, although China is considered its homeland from where the plant was brought to Japan and then to Europe. A small evergreen tree is a thermophilic inhabitant of the subtropics, but it tolerates frosts down to minus 20. Autumn medlar is showered with white flowers, which have a delicate aroma; therefore, the trees are often used as decorative ones.
But the April tourist loves best, of course, the spring medlar, strewn with yellow-red fruits. If you are wandering along the paths of the blossoming island, it is impossible to resist the temptation to pick a yellow “apricot-plum” from a roadside tree. So tasty: cool, fresh and sweet with some sourness, so you can’t understand what it looks like. Like a pear, a cherry or mango? No matter what! It is the only one, the April medlar, the only one!
True, these fruits are sissies and do not tolerate long transportation. So you need to feast on them on the spot, and you can bring home only jam (μαρμελάδα, “marmalade”, as the Greeks say) from medlar. Look at their pips—so beautiful they are that it is a pity to throw them away: you want to touch them in your hands like a rosary. It is believed that they can be dried, ground and brewed like coffee, but scientists warn that the seeds contain toxic alkaloids that can cause something unwanted.
With brown sugar and wine vinegar they produce from medlar jelly or sauce.
Fresh medlar is good in combination with yogurt (with some addition of nuts and honey) and fruit salads. In taverns you can find medlar juice with cinnamon.
Scientists talk about the general strengthening and healing properties of medlar for people who have problems with digestion, cardiovascular system or urolithiasis. These fruits contain a lot of fiber, pectin, which “sweeps away” all toxins from the body. A decoction of medlar leaves is also used as a remedy (following the ancient Chinese recommendations).
The cosmetologists assure that masks made from this fruit not only tighten and cleanse the skin, but also rejuvenate. If you grind a few fruits, add a spoonful of olive oil and apply onto your face for about 20 minutes, several years of your age will dissolve under the vitamin mask.
Medlar bears fruit until June, so plan your vacation for the spring if you want to rejuvenate!