This sweet little fruit tree makes it's home in my front yard. When we first moved in I had to ask a neighbor what it was. The answer was a Loquat tree. I then had to ask what in the heck a loquat was.
The tree flowers in the fall, and puts out fruit in early spring. From what I understand, loquat vary in color and flavor. Mine have yellow skin and white flesh with one or two large seeds in the center. The flavor is sort of peach, sort of cherry. But not exactly. When fully ripe, they are extremely sweet. I almost prefer them a little unripe, when they are a bit tart.
Loquat are native to southeast China, have been cultivated in Japan for over 1000 years, and in the States are mostly grown in California and east-Texas/west-Louisiana. I think you can find them canned in some Asian markets, but I'm pretty sure the taste and texture will be very different. Around here, this seems to be a fruit that people either happen to have growing in their yard, or have never heard of.
The past few years, the birds have beat me to the loquat, and left me with only a handful to munch on. This year the birds lost out big time, because I picked them all the minute they seemed ripe. I don't usually have so much fresh fruit in the house, so it was fun to decide what to do with it. Tarts, crisps, cakes: all would have been good, but I was worried I still wouldn't use them all before they went bad. So in the end I decided to make loquat jam.
I kept fretting over how to go about making this, spending way too much time comparing recipes on the internet. In the end I just winged it, and it came out perfect. I made two batches; one with ginger and one without.
Halve loquat, removing seed and membrane. You can leave the skins on.
Blend in food processor to desired consistency. I like mine pretty chunky. Transfer to a large pot.
For each cup of puree add 1/2 cup sugar, 1 Tbsp. lemon juice, and 1-2 tsp. minced crystallized ginger if desired. Add cold water just to cover.
Bring to boil. Reduce heat and simmer, stirring occasionally for 40 minutes or until the liquid has reduced and thickened considerably.
Transfer to a clean jar and store in the fridge.
Quinoa Biscuits with Loquat Jam
I made these biscuits the same night and we consumed an alarming amount of them with lots of the jam. The lavender in these really goes well with the loquat.
Quinoa Lavender Biscuits
1 1/2 cup flour (I used spelt)
1/2 cup quinoa flakes*
2 tsp. lavender
2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
3 Tbsp. olive oil or melted margarine
1 cup milk
1 Tbsp. apple cider vinegar
1 Tbsp. flax meal (optional)
Mix wet ingredients and flax. In separate bowl mix dry ingredients. Add the wet mixture to the dry ingredients and stir till just combined. Drop by spoonful onto oiled baking pan. Bake in preheated 350 degree oven for 7-10 minutes or until biscuits are firm and slightly browned.
*I use Ancient Harvest Quinoa Flakes. Rolled oats would work as well. Or, you could just omit and add an extra 1/2 cup flour.