What Is a Loquat?
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Find answers to the most commonly asked Loquat questions, like what exactly they are, where they come from, how loquats taste, and how you can use your harvest this year.
It’s a warm spring day and your neighbor just walked up your driveway with a huge bag of strange yellow fruit. Or, maybe you just moved into your new house and are wondering what the heck those strange little fruits are hanging from the fruit tree you just inherited.
This guide to all things loquat will not only tell you what those fruits are, but what they taste like, how to eat them and why you should love them. Get all your loquat answers here!
Loquat, The Japanese Plum
Loquats are a well traveled fruit, native to China, but happy to grow in abundance anywhere where there is plenty of heat. Sometime hundreds and hundreds of years ago, they traveled to Japan, then made their way through the Middle East, Africa, and over to North America.
Here in the US, the trees grow well in the south, but most of the fruit producing trees live in California, Texas, and Florida. The fruits can be smooth or fuzzy, very round or oblong, but are always yellow.
Where Can I find Loquats?
If you’re a lucky owner of a loquat tree, congratulations, you’ll likely have plenty of fruit to enjoy and plenty to share. But, if you’re like me and simply love these unique little fruits, finding them is half the challenge!
They’re a delicate fruit that bruise very easily, which makes them fairly unattractive to major commercial food production and sales. You’ll likely never see on at a grocery store.
Instead, if you live in one of the 3 US states that are known to grow them, head out to your local farm stands or u-pick orchards and grab a bucket or two while you can. The best time of year to find them is late winter through the very first weeks of summer.
What does a Loquat Taste like?
Loquats are like a delectable cross between a Meyer lemon, apricot, and plum. They’re both sweet and tangy, with a brightness that can only be described as mildly citrusy.
How do you eat a loquat?
If you’re curious about the flavor, give your fruit a quick wash and feel free to take a big bite straight out of the fruit. You can eat them just like any other stone fruit, but be mindful of the large slick seeds that are in the middle.
The seeds are poisonous, so don’t try to eat them, but also know it would take quite a lot of them to make your sick. They come out very easily, so to avoid them, just cut your fruit in half, remove them, and snack on.
The skin is perfectly edible and safe to cook with if you prefer to leave them one. I admit, before baking, it’s my preference to remove the skin and seeds, which thankfully is very easy to do!
Once they’re cut in half, simply remove the seeds and peel away the white membrane that the seeds sat on, it should peel away with a gently tug.
The skin is equally easy to remove, just use a paring knife, or your fingernail, to hook the edge of the peel near the stem end of the fruit and peel it away. With the skin removed, loquats bake up luscious and tender.
What Can I do with Loquats?
They’re delicious and easy to eat just as they are for a quick snack, but they’re also a natrually pectin rich food, making them quite good in jams, pies, cobblers, or even savory sauces like bbq sauce. Anywhere you might use stone fruit, feel free to swap in loquats!
If you’re in need of recipes, feel free to check out any of these for inspiration, and I hope you enjoy your loquats this year!
Nutrition information and cooking times are provided as a best estimate. Values may vary based upon ingredients and equipment.