Loquat Lust

The only difference between love and lust is trust - ?

The moment the first flavor crystal of sweet nectar bursts in your mouth, a new fruit exists that you may have never noticed. One of the most ubiquitous trees of Los Angeles, yet also one of the most neglected Yes, they taste very uncannily similar to many others, yet unique. I can think of at least 5 fruits that bear resemblance to loquats; peaches, apricots, mangoes, apples and cherries. They have a wide range of flavors depending on variety, ripeness and various other factors such as water, sun and nutrients. They are one of the most forgiving of all edible fruit trees, needing little, being favored by few pests, the humble loquat produces copious amounts of fruit annually in medians, front yards, alleys, abandoned properties, public parks and even gas stations. They are a very useful trees, the leaves being used for medicinal purposes, fruit and seeds (used to make a coffee or tea sbstitute) have all been used by humans for hundreds and thousands of years, with significant improvements in the taste over the last 500 years. Here is a recipe and a slice of history via wikipedia and from the forthcoming book "Feral Culinarian": the mildly wild food book.

^ Raw Loquat Jam
< attributes : vegan, raw, local
< useful tools : vessel
< preparation time : 10 minutes

* loquats

Loquats are known to be of indigenous origin Asia, where they have been domesticated for over two thousand years. They thrive in a wide variety of conditions of climate, soil and light, and after being pollinated by insects, they produce a peachy colored fruit in late winter or early spring. The leaves are analgesic, antibacterial, antiemetic, antitussive, antiviral, astringent, diuretic and expectorant. Quite a resume for such a small fruit. The size ranges from 1 to 3 inches with at least one 1/2 inch pit.

Jam is a sweet pasty substance usually made from combining heat, sugar, fruit (with pectin) and preserved in jars. Most common sugar comes from politically unstable regions where farmers are watched by guards with guns and governments, murderous rebel groups take bribes from international agribusiness firms. Loquats are delicious with their naturally present sugar however, and not often commercially available. Many people regard them as ornamental trees and plant them on medians and front yards, unbeknownst to residents and locals. I suggest appreciating the fruit in it's own season and eating it as quickly as possible, because without sugar and pectin, this will not last more than a week or two. Try using what ever fruit is in season to make a raw jam, strawberries, raspberries and melons can often defy the seasons and grow year round in Southern California and other hot dry climates.

To make, remove the seed(s) and thin peel, then pulverize the flesh into small pieces. Keep the seeds for planting, or roast them on a fire, grind or mill and put the grounds in your coffee making device to make loquat coffee. Continue mashing the rest of the fruit and put it into a jar in a cold place. It is a fine compliment to smoothies, ice cream, yogurt, pies, cake, other pastries as well as salad dressings or salsa. Cut the flesh into quarters to dehydrate.