15 April 2009

Loquatalicious



In the back west corner of our yard, there grows a wonderful little loquat tree. I’ve really come to appreciate this tree for all that it has to offer a gardener in Central Texas.

Native to China, the loquat is a nice evergreen tree with broad leaves that remind me of a wrinkly old southern magnolia (without the waxy shine) and/0r Appalachian mountain laurels. In fact, it’s kind of a good stand-in for magnolia. I think this is the very far western edge of the southern magnolia’s natural range, and the ones I see around town often look like they struggle (too dry, I think).

The loquat, on the other hand, grows and grows without any care. It’s especially nice because it is covered with sweet smelling blooms during winter, when not much else is flowering. On a warm day, bees are all over those flowers. The flowers are followed by a small edible fruit that ripens about now, mid-April.



The fruits are orange-yellow and look great hanging on the dark green tree. They taste a bit like an apricot. Very mellow. But beware that there isn’t much in the way of flesh. The seeds are enormous inside; big like persimmon seeds.



If you can get to the fruits before the bugs, squirrels and birds, they are really tasty. I’m trying to take advantage of that this year. My neighbor across the fence, who’s now a freshman at Evergreen College in Washington, likes to make preserves out of them.

Just last night, John made a really nice breakfast recipe, and we threw in a handful of chopped ripe loquats as a substitute for apricots and peaches. Very tasty. Here's the simple recipe from Whole Foods:

This breakfast provides protein, whole grains and fresh fruit for a breakfast sure to help you start your morning right. Simply mix the ingredients together and refrigerate overnight. Enjoy it cold or warm the next morning.

Ingredients

2 cups rolled oats (not instant or quick cooking)
2 cups lowfat milk or milk substitute (we used Original Rice Dream)
1 teaspoon lemon zest
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 cup chopped pecans, walnuts or almonds
2 peaches or apricots, pitted and sliced (or loquats!)
2 tablespoons agave nectar (optional) or maple syrup

Method

Combine oats, milk, zest and vanilla in a bowl then cover and refrigerate overnight. The next morning, scoop oatmeal into bowls and top with pecans, peaches and a drizzle of agave nectar.

10 comments:

Lancashire rose said...

MMm. I tried loquats for the first time this week. Now that muesli sounds wonderful. Much better than the dry stuff.

weeder1 said...

My mom used to make Loquat pie. Everybody loved it!

TexasDeb said...

Great recipe- thanks for sharing. We are still enjoying loquat preserves/jam from the bumper crop last year. They are a real treat.

Diana said...

Lee -- what a great post. I was JUST thinking that I needed to go do some Loquat research because I have fruit and wanted to know what to do with it, so thanks! I'll try that recipe, too, that sounds tasty.

Sazji said...

Loquats are great! In Turkey they make a kebab of them - medium fatty lamb, "ground" with a knife (not so fine as ground meat) and seasoned with black pepper, good red flake pepper and salt. The loquats should still be rather sour, not ripened. The fruits are cut in half and seeded, then you put half on a skewer, a ball of the meat, the other half of the fruit to close (not actually enclose, just close to it). Fill the skewers that way...Amazing!

Bonnie said...

Hmmm, I have been thinking about a loquat tree. Do you grow it from seed?

Lee said...

That's a great recipe all the way from Turkey. Nice to hear from you over there. And neat blog!

Lee said...

Hi Bonnie-

I've seen the small plants coming up in my garden and around the neighborhood so they must be able to grow from seed...

ConsciousGardener said...

Lovely post about the Loquat. I've had mine for 3 years and this was the first year I got fruit! I'll have to try making jam:)

TxRose said...

I got both of my trees from seeds a neighbor gave me. 3-4 years and we have a good harvest of fruit and 6-8 feet tall trees.