Spanish medlars as a superfruit for weight loss and more…

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medlars

Did you know that medlars (nísperos) are common in Spain, and also in the wild? It is a small but powerful fruit with many health benefits. The fruit is also called ‘oro naranja’ or orange gold and has a low calorie content in combination with a high nutritional value.

The medlar is also a good tree for your Spanish garden. This grows well in partial shade, needs little water and should be pruned as little as possible. The Spanish medlars come from the tree Eriobotrya japonica, which is a member of the rose family. The fruit originates in Southeast China. After many centuries of cultivation in Japan, from which it owes its scientific name, this fruit has become a beloved element of the Spanish flora. The small fruit is recognisable by its oval shape, yellow to sometimes orange-light brown skin when ripe. You will usually find two to five large dark brown seeds per fruit.

Tasty and nutritious

In addition to its culinary versatility in dishes such as marmalades and compotes, the medlar is highly valued for its rich content of vitamin A, vitamin C, and minerals such as potassium and manganese. These nutrients strengthen the immune system, improve skin health and support vision. Medlars still go through a fermentation process on the tree. Therefore they are very hard and inedible. If you pick and eat a medlar too early, the flesh has a sharp and astringent effect on the taste buds. After the fermentation process, the flesh becomes buttery soft and acquires a mildly sweet, slightly musty taste.

Seasonal superfood

The first medlars are already ripe at this time. They are mainly available in greengrocers and supermarkets in May and June. Buy this superfood especially during these months to support local economies. If you have a medlar tree in your garden, be alert: a medlar is at its tastiest when it has already reached the edge of the rotting process. Medlars rot quickly. It is not without reason that the expression ‘as rotten as a medlar’ exists. But what are the specific health benefits of the medlar?

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  • Rich in Vitamins and minerals: Essential for the immune system, skin and eye health.
  • Antioxidants: Protection against free radicals, which helps reduce chronic diseases and premature aging.
  • Promotes digestion: The pectin contained helps regulate intestinal transit and improves general digestion.
  • Heart health: Supports the heart and helps regulate blood pressure due to the combination of fiber, antioxidants and potassium.
  • Eye health: The vitamin A in níspero is crucial for preventing conditions such as macular degeneration.
  • Anti-inflammatory properties: Useful in reducing inflammation and associated pain.

Recipe for medlar jam

You can eat medlars as fresh fruit, but you can also use the fruits in sweet and savoury dishes. Add some medlars to your fruit smoothie or make delicious jam from them. Medlar jam or jelly is also delicious with cheese. Or make a medlar chutney to go with your spicy dishes. Only pitting the fruits is a time-consuming job.

Preparation time: 10 minutes
Cooking time: 30 minutes
Total time: 40 minutes
Servings: 10 portions of 250 grams
Category: Desserts
Cuisine: Spanish
Calories per serving: 122 kcal

Ingredients

750 g medlars
25 ml lemon juice
200 g sugar

Preparation method

Start by peeling the 750 gram medlars. Remove the kernels and the white membrane covering the kernels and cut them into pieces. Place the sliced medlars in a pan together with 25ml of lemon juice and 200 grams of sugar. Mix everything well and place the pan over medium heat. Let it cook for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally to prevent it from sticking to the bottom. After 30 minutes you can perform the ‘place test’ to see if the jam is ready. You do this test by placing a spoonful of jam on a cold plate, letting it cool for half a minute, and then drawing a line through it with your finger. If the jam does not run back, it is ready. If not, let it cook for a few more minutes. Remove the pan from the heat. If you want a jam with fruit pieces, leave it as it is. For a smooth jam without chunks, puree the mixture with a hand blender. Spoon the jam into a clean jar and let it cool before consuming.

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