Photo provided by organicfacts.net
Welcome back to the third installment of the entertaining yet informational fruit anthology. This time around we are talking about kumquat’s long lost cousin, the loquat. The loquat is an amazing little fruit that is of comparable size to a grape but with a taste similar to a peach mixed with a mango. One of the few flaws of the loquat is that it is best if peeled, which in my experience can be a pain in the butt. However, the loquat truly brings truth to the statement that anything good is worth working for. When you put in the time and effort to peel a loquat or a bundle of loquats, you will be rewarded with a unique explosion of citrus flavor.
The loquat is, like the orange, from China where similar plants can be found in the wild. The loquat was first introduced and naturalized into Japan and has been cultivated for over 1000 years. Speaking of Japan, they are the world’s leading producer of loquats followed by Israel and Brazil. This shows us that this fruit is hardy and tasty as it can grow in such diverse climates extremely well. The loquat also has a unique use to it, as like grapes they can be used to make a light fruit wine. The loquat is not only a universal phenomenon but is locally a big deal. Only a couple weeks ago on March 24th, was the Florida Loquat festival in New Port Richey. At this festival the delicious fruit is celebrated and there are lectures on how to grow, harvest and prepare loquats. You can get jams, jellies, capotes and even slices of loquat pie there. Not only is the loquat festival a celebration of the fruit but also of the literature surrounding them; in fact, they have a poetry contest focused on loquats. This festival is a blast and you should consider attending next year as it would be fun for the whole family.
The loquat, while not as well-known as the orange or even the kumquat, is one of the most severely underrated fruits in today’s day and age. They can be a great snack on a summer’s day or make great jam for toast and even a good wine to pair with dessert. Hopefully, I have convinced you to try them out; you won’t be disappointed.