Loquats are called Chinese plums, Japanese plums, Nisperos, and Misperos. Appropriately enough Chinese plums are from China but naturalized in Japan over 1,000 years ago. Loquats are in India, Hawaii, Pakistan, the Mediterranean area, and many other places. The trees thrive in warm areas since they bloom in winter and will freeze with hard freezes. Everywhere one goes here in South Texas one can see yellow and orange fruit hanging from a large leafed small tree. Nearly every neighborhood has some. One can find them in parking lots, parks, and roadways. The reason they are so commonly planted is that they are easy to start from seeds. They are not very easy to start from cuttings so every tree has fruit unlike its neighboring tree. The loquat trees in my yard were started from seeds just strewn over the bare ground, not even planted. Deep South Texas had the fruit ripe several weeks before central Texas. Since we had only mild frost this year it appears we are having a wonderful year. It did not take long to gather 5 gallons of the fruit. The trees that were harvested don’t even look like they were picked they were so full of fruit. All of my neighbors and friends offered me their fruit since they do very little with the fruit. However, it should be utilized much more than it is because it can be used in many different ways. It can be made into jelly, jam, syrup, wine, sauce, pies, cobbler, spiced loquats, compote, salsa, pickled, juiced, and of course eaten raw. To eat them raw they should be orange to get the sweetest flavor. However, they will still be tart. For jelly one can pick them yellow since this is the stage at which the natural pectin is present. Since pectin is used in my recipes I used both yellow and orange fruit. For wine one wants to have them as ripe as possible so the orange ones were picked for that purpose. It takes 9-12 cups of fruit to make 4 cups of liquid. One of the beauties of the loquat is that they are large, easy to pick, and do not have thorns or prickles. However, each fruit has from 1 to 7 large seeds so they must be removed. Additionally there is a flower end that must be cut off too. Pretty quickly one gets into a rhythm where one slices the flower end and continues to cut the fruit in half and then pop the seeds out. Even so it takes a while to remove all those seeds. The fruit was placed into the pot and then covered with water. They were cooked for 15 minutes. They were then poured into a Foley food mill. Under that was placed a sieve. The sieve caught all the pulp. Sugar and cinnamon was added to the pulp. It made a wonderful sauce similar to apple sauce. The juice that had poured through the sieve was then used to make the jelly. The juice, lemon juice, and pectin are boiled until full rolling boil is achieved. Then sugar is added and after a full minute of rolling boil your jelly is ready to be poured into freezer containers. If jam is preferred then put the pulp into the juice. This is a fruit and jelly that should be utilized and appreciated much more than it is.
4 cups loquat juice
1/3 cup lemon juice
1 pkg no sugar needed pectin
2 or 3 cups of sugar
Loquat Sauce Recipe
1/2 cup sugar and 1 tsp cinnamon to taste
2 cups mashed loquat pulp
Stir in the sugar and cinnamon to the pulp. Heat on the stove until ingredients are mixed. You can eat this like apple sauce as part of a meal or as a dessert.
Loquat Empanadas Recipe
Fruit empanadas are a delicious treat. They are a fruit filling in the middle of pie dough. They are so easy to make and taste so wonderful I thought I would try to make one using loquat sauce.
I bought already made pie dough andused a large drinking glass to cut out the circle shapes out of the flattened raw pie crust. I filled each circle with a small dab of the filling. I folded the circle in half, being careful to keep the filling from spilling out. I then used my fork to seal the edges. I brushed egg yolks on the tops of the empanadas. I put them on a cookie sheet in a 375 degree pre-heated oven. I baked them for 15 minutes until they were golden brown. I let them cool. Although they were still warm I had to try one. It was heavenly.