Other Names: Japanese medlar, Japanese plum, May apple.
General Description: The loquat (Eriobotrya japonica) is a rounded fruit in the Rosaceae family with yellow-orange skin and cream- or orange-colored flesh. Native to China, this fruit was introduced to Japan over 1,000 years ago. It was common as a small-fruited ornamental in California in the 1870s, where it was known as Japanese plum. Japan is the leading producer of loquats, followed by Israel and Brazil.
The loquat has juicy, crisp flesh that can be either orange- or cream-colored (considered the best) with 1 to 3 rather large hard seeds in the center. Loquat tastes like a mix of apricot, plum, and pineapple, with floral overtones. People describe its flavor as a delicate balance between sweet and acid. Loquats bruise easily so they’re not good travelers; fresh loquats are usually found only close to where they’re grown.
Season: Loquats are available locally in July and August in growing regions of the Northern Hemisphere; warm months are their season.
Purchase: Choose large, unblemished fruit.
Avoid: Steer clear of bruised fruit.
Storage: Ripen at room temperature and then refrigerate in a plastic bag for 2 to 3 days.
- Loquats may need to be peeled depending on the amount of exterior fuzz. Peel with a vegetable peeler.
- Cut the loquat in half and remove the seeds.
Note: Do not eat, chew, or swallow the seeds—they are toxic.
Serving Suggestions: Add loquats to salads, fruit salads, or fruit cups. Make loquat jam, jelly, or chutney. Poach loquats in light sugar syrup with a cinnamon stick.
Flavor Affinities: Allspice, apples, Asian pears, chicken, cinnamon, cloves, duck, lemon, soy sauce, strawberries.
from Quirk Books: www.quirkbooks.com