This is a special week. Mostly because it is my oldest son’s last week of 8th grade and partly because my younger son turns 10 next Saturday but also because this is the one brief week of the year when LOQUATS are fully ripe and free for the picking.
Most people confuse loquats with kumquats. Kumquats are in the citrus family. Loquats (Eriobotrya japonica) are distant cousins of apples and they are related to the even weirder half-step-cousin, the medlar. But, I love this fruit. They are not a fruit to gorge on. I don’t have any idea if people do anything with this stone fruit other than eat them fresh picked from the tree. I have vivid memories of climbing the loquat tree in the Nelson’s backyard and eating the super ripe, juicy fruits and then using their pits as ammunition.
To properly eat a loquat, or at least to eat one like I have always eaten then, you peel the skin back fromt eh flesh of the fruit with your teeth. A ripe fruit lets go of the slightly fuzzy skin with ease. The flesh of the fruit is half way between a cantaloupe and a peach. It is sweet tart but not pucker tart. In the center are usually two paired glossy seeds. The seeds look like pregnant apple seeds on steroids but without the pointed ends. The larger the fruit the more of a chance for three seeds. The flesh of the fruit is not adhered to the seed. You spit the seeds and go for the next one.
This is a tree native to China, imported to Japan and then brought to California. It is drought resistant and seems to grow in sandy soil with clay and limestone. I will plant a fw on the property because one day they will look like this.