For many, eating them straight off the tree is the perfect way to enjoy these beauties, which are often called Japanese plums. (If you’re not familiar with loquats, click here to learn more.)
There are so many this year that you have to have a plan of what to do with them. And no one wants to see that much fruit go to waste.
From my single tree, I picked more than three gallons. First I froze some whole, with the peelings and the seeds intact. You get sweeter and firmer fruit when it comes time to use them than if you seed them before freezing.
But what should I do with the rest? In the past, I’ve made wine, cobblers, pies and empanadas with the fruit. This year, I decided to pickle them, but the recipes had to be quick and easy, because, lately, time is a four-letter word in my book.
So, here are three recipes that are easy to make, if you have more loquats than you know what to do with.
Enjoy them while they last.
Spicy Pickled Loquats
Shred these pickles, jalapeños and all, and add a little to the slaw on your fish tacos.
1 pound loquats, stems and seeds removed
1 jalapeño pepper, sliced
1 cup seasoned rice wine vinegar
2 limes, juiced
4 garlic cloves, whole
1/2 teaspoon salt
Have a sterilized quart jar with a tight fitting lid at the ready – You can sterilize yours in the refrigerator.
Layer the loquats and jalapeño slices in the sterilized jar.
In a 2-cup measuring cup, combine the rice wine vinegar, lime juice, garlic cloves and salt. Pour mixture over the loquats and jalapeño slices.
Place the lid on the jar and give it a good shake.
Refrigerate for 1 week before eating.
Makes about 3 pints pickles.
I made these beauties several years ago. It’s well worth revisiting this recipe.
2 1/4 pounds loquats
3 heaped tablespoons of cooking or rock salt
Fresh bay leaves
Stems of fresh rosemary, about 4 inches in length
2 generous cups vinegar
2 generous cups water
Pick yellow to orange loquats without blemishes. Halve the fruit.
Remove all seed pits and the blackish end of each fruit (end opposite the stem).
Leave the skins on.
Don’t worry if the cut fruit browns. Rinse the prepared loquats with water. Place in a bowl and add salt.
Leave for 24 hours in a bowl. Stir whenever it is convenient to allow the fruit to make contact with the salty juices.
Drain the salty juices. Rinse the loquats with water to remove excess salt.
Mix vinegar and water in a stainless steel saucepan; bring to boil and allow it to cool for 3 minutes.
Put a fresh bay leaf and two stems of rosemary into each jar. Firmly pack the washed salted loquats into the jars. Carefully pour hot mixture of vinegar and water over the loquats. Ensure that there are no trapped air bubbles. Fill to the top of the jars.
Seal jars with thin plastic wrap to stop any rusting under jar lids. Place in the fridge and store for at least a week before using.
Makes about 2 quarts.
Sweet Pickled Loquats
If you like a sweeter pickle, add a little more sugar and cut back slightly on the vinegar.
1 1/2 pounds loquats
2 cups sugar
1 cup water
1 cup cider vinegar
A few cloves
1 small cinnamon stick
1 cardamom, optional
Halve the loquats, removing the seeds and stems, but keep the peels on. Combine the sugar, water, vinegar, cloves, cinnamon stick and cardamom, if using, in a large saucepan. Add the loquat halves.
Cook the loquats gently over medium heat until they are soft. Put them in the jar, fill the jar with the hot syrup. Tighten the jar lid and store in the fridge.
Makes about 1 quart.
Adapted from Notjustboilwater.com
Here are two other ideas for how to use your loquats: