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There’s something to be said for the classics, especially when they’re homemade. I’ve shared a simple homemade Strawberry Jam, and a slightly more unique but still simple Pomegranate Jelly and both are truly delicious. BUT, one of the best things about making fruit preserves at home is that you can make truly unique flavors that you would never find at a store! When I drove by a local fruit stand a few weeks ago and saw loquats for sale, I knew I had to experiment. The result was a delicious loquat jam, sweet and tart, and full of warm spices.
What’s a Loquat?
I know, I felt the same way when I stopped at that produce stand. Thankfully, the benefit of living surrounded by amazing California produce and it’s growers means I can talk directly to the people producing it!
He told me I could liken it to a tart, slightly more tropical apricot. They’re delicate and so don’t travel well or last long enough to make it to your grocery store. But that shouldn’t stop us from eating them!
Turns out they’re actually known as a Japanese plum, and are a fruit native to China. There are tons of varieties, almost 800 but only a few are grown in California. The flesh is bright yellow and both the large seeds and skin come off remarkably easily.
Okay…but I don’t live in California or have access to loquats!
Don’t worry! I thought about that quite a lot before posting this, I don’t want anyone to be restricted from making a recipe they love – if you’re read any of my other posts you know I encourage experimenting!
If you like the sounds of this jam, but can’t find loquats, simple replace with your choice of apricots or quince. Either will be a delicious variation.
Loquat Jam Ingredients
Aside from the gorgeous fruit, there are a few other ingredients you need to make this homemade jam – a vanilla bean, ground ginger, and sugar.
Can I use Vanilla Extract?
Absolutely! I make my own Homemade Vanilla Extract, so I buy beans in bulk and have them on hand. I liked the idea of the seeds suspended in a lovely jam. But you can absolutely use vanilla extract if that’s what you have.
1 vanilla bean is equal to about 3 teaspoons of vanilla.
Can I use Fresh Ginger?
Yes! This is a preference for me. I love fresh ginger when I’m infusing glazes and sauces with it, like a nice Ginger Simple Syrup, but I don’t love chewing or biting on chunks of ginger root, cooked or not.
1 tablespoon of fresh ginger is equal to the 1/4 tsp of ground ginger I used. I recommend chopping it very finely to have it nicely distributed without overwhelming chunks of it.
Do I need pectin?
No! Loquats are naturally high in pectin, making them easy to set into a nice jam state without hours of cooking. If you’re substituting either apricots or quince, they also have natural pectin levels high enough to not require more.
How to make Loquat Jam
The more I make homemade fruit and veggie preserves the more I realize just how simple it is!
Step 1 Clean the Fruit
For loquat jam, first process 2 pounds of loquats. Simply cut them in half, remove the seeds, and peel off the skin. There is a layer of thin white pith beneath the seeds that peels off easily as well. Once you have all the fruit cleaned, chop it.
Don’t worry too much about size or consistency, as it cooks the fruit will naturally break down.
Step 2 Combine and Cook!
Next add fruit, sugar, ginger, and the contents of 1 vanilla bean, split and scraped as well as the pod into a large saucepan. Cook over medium heat.
Stirring occasionally to prevent scorching, cook until the fruit has broken down into small chunky pieces (like the size of peppercorns), you can use your spoon to help this along. The mixture should also thicken to a dense syrup. Before it gets too thick, remove the vanilla bean pod and discard.
When you can scrape your spoon along the bottom and the jam very slowly fills it back in, and it clings to the spoon, you’re good to go. This took about 25 minutes for me.
The longer you cook it, the thicker it will be. While this is not harmful or inedible in any way, to achieve the spreadable jam consistency, do not cook too long. It will thicken as it cools, so stop while the mixture still moves with some fluidity.
Step 3 – Water Bath Canning (optional)
Because this is a small batch recipe, whether you choose to process it for long term storage is completely up to you. 2 pounds of loquats cooks down into a surprisingly small amount, only about 12 ounces of jam.
I like these small batch recipes because I tend to get bored with the same flavors over and over again. SO instead, I can make small 4 ounce jars and change up the flavors of open jars of jam in the fridge every week or two.
If you want to process them for long term storage, you can either freeze it or water bath can it. You can also easily double this recipe, or triple it if you want to make more!
For water bath canning, you’ll need to have three 4 ounce mason jars, screw bands, and new, unused seals washed and dry on a clean dish towel. Bring a pot of water to a boil, with enough water to cover the jars by 1 inch.
When your jam is done cooking, ladle in the jam, leaving 1/4 inch of head space. Wipe the rim clean of any stickiness, and apply the new seal and twist on the lid. Be careful, the jam and so the jars, will be very hot. Submerge them in boiling water for 10 minutes. Remove, allow to seal, and then store in a cupboard for up to 1 year.
To test the seal press down on the center, if it moves or clicks the seal has not taken. (This can take up to 24 hours so don’t worry if it doesn’t happen right away). If the lid is stiff, and there is a small indent in the center it is sealed and safe to store.
Once opened, store in fridge for up to 1 month.
Enjoy your Loquat Jam!
I’m a big fan of tart and sweet jams. It’s refreshing to have a break from the heavily sweet store bought jams, or those made with really sweet fruit.
I love this particular jam on toast, waffles, and other warm baked goods. It’s also perfect for filling sandwich cookies like my Shortbread cookies!
Wherever you might enjoy a sweet fruit, try substituting this jam, I think you’ll be happy you did! I’d love to hear what you think of this small batch loquat jam or any variations you make. Until then, happy eating!
- 2 lbs loquats*
- 1 1/2 cups white sugar
- 1 whole vanilla bean*
- 1/4 tsp ginger, ground*
- Remove seeds and skins from loquats. Chop to small dice.
- If processing for shelf storage, wash 3 four ounce jars with warm soapy water. Set to dry on a clean towel and bring a pot of water to a boil with enough water to submerge jars by 1 inch.
- Combine chopped fruit, ginger, and sugar over medium heat. Split and scrap vanilla bean and add both seeds and the pod to the mixture.
- Cook, stirring occasionally to prevent sticking or burning, until fruit has broken down to small pieces and the jam has thickened enough to cling to the spoon and leave a trail on the bottom of the pan when the spoon is dragged through. About 25 minutes. Discard the vanilla bean pod.
- Ladle hot jam into warm jars* and tighten seals and lids on them. The jars will be very hot so use a towel to protect your hand. Submerge jars in boiling water for 10 minutes.
- Remove and when seal takes, store in cupboard for up to 1 year. Once opened, or if not sealing for long term storage, keep in fridge for 1 month. Can also be frozen. Makes 12 ounces.