Fruit Shakespeare Knew

Picture of fruit on a medlar tree in a garden in Yorkshire.

The fruit in the above picture was once commonly eaten and widely known and it features in 4 plays by William Shakespeare. The plays are Measure for Measure, As You Like It, Romeo and Juliet and the perhaps less well known Timon of Athens.

The fruit is the medlar and I took the photo a few days back in a small garden at a church not far from my place. When I first saw them I was in doubt and asked for confirmation because I had not seen any in quite a few years.

The Romans and the ancient Greeks liked to eat them and Chaucer mentions them, they were a popular Victorian fruit but today they have almost vanished from the modern table. Apparently they can be made into jelly and also chutney but I cannot ever recall seeing either. Wine can also be made from the fruit of the medlar tree.