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How to Use Loquats


loquatsThe winter rains have resulted in an explosion of loquats. Across the city, trees are laden with dark yellow fruit just waiting to be harvested.

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.)

loquat pickles1

Several types of loquat pickles.

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.

From saltedandsyled.com

Pickled Loquats

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

Loquats growing at the top of the tree.

Loquats growing at the top of the tree.

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.

From www.loquatworld.com

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:

 

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Griffin to Go: It’s Loquat Season. What Are Loquats?


Loquats growing at the top of the tree.

Thanks to the rains we had this winter, the loquat trees in the area are covered with juicy, ripe fruit.

Lo-what?

For those who don’t know a loquat from a kumquat, let’s start with what it is not. Loquats are not citrus fruits; kumquats are. So, the two are not related.

The oblong, yellow to orange fruit resembles a small apricot, but those two are not similar, either.

Loquats have a thin skin and a fairly slight amount of meat plus any number of hard stones at the center. They have a short shelf life once they’re picked, and they’re fairly messy to deal with. They turn brown fairly quickly, so if you want them to have that just-picked look, you’ll need to use Fruit-Fresh or lemon juice in a hurry.

So, why would anyone go to the trouble of dealing with them?

Because they taste great.

Their sweet-tart tingle is why I planted my tree 11 years ago. I had had one when I lived in Florida and I grew to look forward to that fruit as much as I looked forward to the tangelos, grapefruits and lemons that also grew in the backyard. Back then, all I did with loquats was make cobblers with plenty of butter and a biscuit-style crust.

Loquats fresh from the tree.

I am no expert on the scientific  nature of loquats. I know they come from Asia, and I know there are several varieties with slight differences in the flavor.

I also knew from research that I would have to wait awhile to get that taste again. It takes at least seven years for a loquat tree to mature. Well, seven years passed and no fruit. Eight, nine, 10 years went by. The last two years, flowers appeared but they either died in a freeze or died in the drought. Thankfully, this year, it exploded with so much fruit that I have had to come up with new ways of preparing it.

One dessert I created mixed strawberries with the loquats in an empanada filling. For a more savory treat, I put up several jars of loquat pickle, one of which I plan to serve on Easter Sunday with ham. Loquat pie and cobbler are on their way.

There are a number of other recipe ideas at LoquatWorld.com, which also has information on the tree itself. Loquat wine? I may have to give it a try.

Do any of you have loquat trees? If so, what do you do with the fruit? Post your answers below.

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