River Cottage Autumn

Medlar jelly recipe

Hugh: "If you can't get hold of medlars, you can certainly make this jelly using a mixture of apples and pears instead, but if you do manage to hunt some down you're in for a real treat. This soft, pink, slightly cloudy jelly is a wonderful accompaniment to lamb or venison (try stirring a little into the pan juices when you're making the gravy, too), but you can also add some to yoghurt or spread a spoonful or two over hot, buttered sourdough toast."


  • 1kg medlars (quartered but not peeled)
  • 500g Bramley cooking apples
  • About 650g granulated sugar


How to make medlar jelly

1. Quarter the medlars. Peel and chop the apples and tip the fruit into a preserving pan, or any heavy-bottomed, deep, wide pan, with just enough water to cover.

2. Bring to a simmer and cook for 30-45 minutes, until the medlars are soft and pulpy.

Tip: If you have freshly picked, unbletted medlars, remove any leaves from them and place them in one layer in a shallow bowl and leave them in a cool place until they turn brown and soften slightly.

3. Strain through a jelly bag on a stand set over a large bowl. Don't be tempted to poke, squeeze or force the pulp through the bag or you'll get a cloudy jelly, just leave it to drip over the bowl for several hours or overnight. Don't discard the pulp though - it's perfect for adding to our chutney.

4. Measure the juice, pour into a clean preserving pan and bring to boiling point before adding the sugar (for every 1l of juice, add 650g of sugar). Stir, in one direction only to reduce foam, until sugar is totally dissolved then boil rapidly for 8 minutes or until the setting point is reached. If you have a preserving thermometer, it should read 104.5°C; if you don't have a thermometer, drop a little jelly onto a saucer which you have chilled in the fridge. Let the jelly cool for a minute then push it gently with your finger. If it crinkles, it has reached its setting point. Remove from the heat and skim off any scum using a slotted spoon.

5. Decant carefully into a warm jug and pour into warm, sterilised jars.

© River Cottage


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