It all began when I was watching the squirrels. This is what I do sometimes when I sit in a wicker chair with my breakfast and ponder life and the creek below.
The squirrels were gnawing most voraciously on a yellow fruit, many of which had dropped to the ground.
I was curious.
So I wandered my way over and this is what I saw, dangling from the trees that up until now I hadn’t paid much attention to.
I picked one.
I rolled it around in my hand.
I contemplated it.
I rubbed off the white fuzz until it was smooth and shiny.
And so I took a bite.
I should also mention that my friend was visiting me from out of town and watched in horror as I took a bite.
“It was nice knowing you,” I said with a wink.
An hour later, I was still feeling perfectly fine. Then I had some more friends come over for a barbecue and word got out about the strange fruit I had eaten.
In that moment, we were divided into two distinct factions. Those that said, “heck, I want to taste it,” and those who looked at us in horror.
One person did pretend to pass out because it was April Fools Day, but I didn’t get too concerned.
Then a bright fellow in the bunch decided to do some research to see if we were all going to have to take a trip to the emergency room. He did some research on his hand held thingamabob that seems to always have an app for everything.
And lo and behold he found a picture of the exact fruit we were eating.
It was called a: Loquat.
Apparently, it is originally from China and is sometimes called the Chinese or Japanese plum.
And even better, you can make: loquat wine, loquat jam and jelly because of its high pectin content. They also soothe the throat.
Amazing! I was the owner of a fruit tree! So you can guess what I did…
I made an herb syrup and I invented the word “semi-syrup” since it wasn’t a true simple syrup, there was more water than sugar, about 3:1.
Then I grabbed a handful of fresh herbs that I have growing: thyme, sage, and oregano.
It was magical, unlike anything I’ve tasted.
Sometimes moving to a new climate will bring delightful surprises. Of course, if you don’t have loquats near you, this recipe will be great with pears or peaches.
- 2 quarts Loquats
- 1 cup sugar
- 3 cups water
- 6-8 sprigs fresh herbs like thyme, sage, oregano
- Rinse the loquats well.
- In a pot, combine the sugar, water, loquats and herbs.
- Cover the pot and bring the liquid to a simmer. As soon as it simmers turn off the heat, leave the lid slightly ajar and let the liquid cool.
- Once the liquid has come to room temperature, slip the skins off of the loquats and put them in a glass jar. Set a small strainer above the jar and ladle in the syrup until it covers the loquats.
- Seal the jars, adding a few extra sprigs of fresh herbs to the top beforehand if you can, and store the jars in the refrigerator.
- Serve with ice cream, creme fraiche or thick cold fresh cream.