02 February 2011

Did you hear anything about medlar (Mespilus germanica)?

 The brown pear and appleshaped fruits are subglobose or pyriform and crowned by foliaceous sepals (drupes 5). The fruit ranges in diameter from 1.5 to 3 cm and weight from very small (about 10 g) to big (more than 80 g). The plant is native in Europe and Asia. Its fruit is well known for its nutritive value especially by the people of Southeastern Europe, Turkey and Iran . The pomelike fruit originates from the inferior ovary, generally with five stony seeds. The skin color is brown, sometimes tinged reddish. The harvest of fruit bletted on the plant in late autumn or the harvest of fruits at physiological ripening and their storage in straw until over-ripening are well known traditions. The medlar is a typical climacteric fruit which has gained value in human consumption and commercial importance in recent years, attracting researches to study its chemical or nutritional compositions . Medlar fruit is widely consumed in some countries such as Turkey a unique place where the people grow the wild and alternative cultivars for the consumption of the fruits in different ways. A long list of recipes utilizing medlar fruits such as in jams and jellies are well known . The astringency of the fruit is well known and it has been reported that bletted pulp or syrup of the fruit is a popular remedy against enteritis and has many human healing properties . 
The bletted fruits have a sweet and slightly acidic flesh; jams and jellies can be obtained. In cookery, a surprisingly long list of recipes can be found. The astringency of the fruits has been well known since ancient times. The fruit of medlars are used as a nutritional material by the local customer and are consumed by the local people as marmalade. The medlar fruit is also used as treatment of constipation, diuretic, and to rid the kidney and bladder of stones . The fruit is consumed as a medicinal remedy in Turkey. In 1964, two new antibiotic cyclopentoid monoterpenes were isolated and identified. These are genipic acid and genipinic acid, which are its carbomethoxyl derivative . Recently, the physical, physicochemical and chemical changes during maturation of Spanish medlar have been reported and flavanols in medlar fruit have been analyzed. More recently, changes in mineral composition at different stages of maturity of medlar , fatty acid composition during ripening of medlar , fatty acid composition during development and maturation of medlar fruit , volatile components of its seeds and polyphenoloxidase from medlar fruits  have been reported. Besides these studies, data on the nutritional value of medlars are still scarce.

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