What are loquats? I discovered them when I walked into my local supermarket in Italyrecently and saw a fruit I’d never seen before. It looked a bit like a large apricot. I asked what it was and I was told nespole.
Well, of course, I had to buy one and find out all about it.
I found out the English name for this fruit is loquat, Japanese medlar (nespole also means the straightforward medlar, but that is something different). In Spain they are called nísperos and in France, nèfles.
Purchasing and storing loquats
Buy fruit which is still a rich yellow – once it turns deep orange it’s over-ripe and the flavour starts to face. Keep in the fridge to slow the ripening process. Eat within a week.
The loquat kernel or stone is toxic
The kernels contain cyanogenic glycosides which is toxic so throw those away.
They don’t need peeling.
On the Day of the Dead in Mexico people put loquats on altars as offerings to the spirits of the deceased.
What to do with loquats:
- This tangy, slightly sweet fruit has a high pectin content, so it makes good jams and jellies
- It’s also good as a base fruit for chutney or a salsa (good with freshly grilled tuna)
- Try it in a pie
- Add to fruit salad
- In Italy they make a spirit with them called Nespolino, but it is safe to drink as it only contains very small quantities. You can make it yourself – go here for the recipe
- you can incorporate them into a mojito
- combine with kohlrabi and mayonnaise
For a host of other ideas go to this dedicated Pinterest page.