June 13, 2009

the humble loquat

Known as nespole in Italian, loquats always transport my mom back to her childhood in Italy so it's not surprising that she included some in the enormous fruit tray she brought me recently.

The loquat looks like the apricot's bald and blemished cousin. Its texture is almost that of a pear but it's more acidic. Cut into it and you will find multiple pits, which are toxic and must be discarded before eating.

According to the Field Guide to Produce: How to Identify, Select and Prepare Virtually Every Fruit and Vegetable At the Market it tastes like "a mix of apricot, plum, and pineapple, with floral overtones." I can't really pick out those flavours in the fruit but, then again, I am also the person who smiles idiotically at wine tastings, hoping that no one will notice that I am clueless (thankfully!) when they say they taste notes of pencil shavings or barnyard.

Loquats don't seem to have much of a presence in North America but interestingly I was not surprised to find that there is a Loquat World in California. According to their website the loquat is much more than just a fruit - the leaves are used in Chinese medicine to treat various ailments and can be brewed into a tea. I can't vouch for that but if you happen to fall in love with loquats check out their site for recipes and more.

As for me, I think that I will just continue to eat them out of hand.

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