If you are a lover of exotic fruits, you have probably heard of loquats.
The loquat is an evergreen tree that produces small, orange-yellow fruits that resemble apricots. Loquats have a shape similar to that of mini pears and the skin is quite thin.
Loquats belong to the pome family. Well-known members of the pome family include pears, apples, and quinces.
Loquats originated from China where it goes by the name pipa. The Chinese gave it the name pipa because it resembles a lute.
In China, loquats are sold in clusters while still in branches, normally tied with a string. Loquats are visually appealing and they also have an amazing aroma.
To date, the Chinese use loquat leaves and fruits to make herbal remedies for asthma and coughs.
Although they originated in China, loquats have been grown in Japan for several centuries.
In fact, Japan is one of the greatest loquat producers. Currently, loquats are grown all over the world. For instance, you’ll see a lot of loquat trees in California.
If you have never interacted with loquats, you are probably wondering what they taste like.
Well, worry not, because this article will give you all the details you need to know about loquats including the flavor, nutritional facts, uses, where to buy them and so much more.
What do they taste like?
Loquats have an amazing citrusy tropical flavor with a slightly tangy undertone. I would say that loquat’s flavor is a mixture of pineapple, pear, and apricot although some people argue that they taste like other fruits too.
When fully ripened, loquats have a juicy peach-like texture. When they are not ripe, the texture is firm and crispy. The flesh of loquats has a pleasant floral aroma which gets even better as they ripen.
Loquats usually have brown large seeds at the center. The number of seeds varies, but most have two or four large seeds. Loquat seeds are not edible because they are hard and bitter, so always discard them.
Loquat leaves are also quite useful. You can pick them and brew them into your tea. Loquat leaves need to be dried before use, the underside also needs to be scrapped off. When infused in water, loquat leaves give out a natural sweetness and an amazing earthy taste.
Are they nutritious?
Loquats are very nutritious. They contain soluble fiber, antioxidants, and Vitamin A. They also contain essential minerals including manganese, magnesium, and potassium.
Research has shown that loquats can improve the body’s immune system.
Loquats are generally versatile, a characteristic that makes them very popular. Here are a few ways you can use loquats.
- Eat out of hand
This is the most common way to enjoy loquats. They taste amazing when eaten out of hand. You can bite into the fruit since the skin is quite thin, but I personally prefer to remove the skin sin since I find it tasteless.
Removing the skin is quite easy. Simply tear off the stem and peel the skin off. If you find it challenging, just use a knife. Once peeled, slice the fruit in half and remove the seeds then enjoy.
- Add them to your breakfast porridge
Loquats can be added to porridge. They make porridge sweet and also provide essential nutrients. Simply slice ripe loquats and stir them into your porridge.
If you want a more caramelized flavor, glaze the loquats with agave syrup or brown sugar. You’ll never have your porridge any other way.
- Make a smoothie.
Loquats are a common smoothie ingredient. You can also blend them to form a loquat smoothie. Make the smoothie the same way you make other smoothies.
You can top it up with chia seeds for extra flavor.
- Add them to your fruit salad.
Loquats are an excellent addition to fruit salads. You can pair loquats with any of your favorite fruits.
I personally love pairing it with pineapples, bananas, strawberries, watermelon, mangoes, and grapes. Drizzle maple syrup on the fruit salad for extra flavor.
- Make herbal tea
You can use dried loquat leaves to make herbal tea.
Simply crush the leaves and add then add them to a boiling pot of water. Strain the tea and enjoy it, it is that simple. You can sweeten it with any sweetener of your choice.
- Use them in baked goods
Loquats can be baked into pies, muffins, and other baked goods. They always taste amazing, so try them out.
- Make chutneys and jams
Loquats can be used to make chutneys and jams. Loquat jam is quite flavorful, I love it.
Where to buy them
Loquats may be a bit difficult to find since they are not stocked in most major supermarkets.
In the US, they are grown in California, so you can easily find them in farmers’ markets. You can also find loquats in high-end grocers on the East coast.
They are imported from Spain, so they are not cheap.
How to choose the best loquats
You’ll only enjoy loquats if you pick the best ones.
I recommend choosing the ones that feel tender and have a sweet aroma. Choose the ones that are orange-yellow in color.
The green ones are not ripe and have a sour flavor.
Interesting facts about loquats
- The scientific name of loquat is Eriobotrya japonica.
- Loquat trees grow up to 10 meters in height and normally have white flowers which grow in clusters.
- The color of the flesh of loquat varies depending on the cultivar. Some are orange, others are yellow, and others are white.
- Most Asian countries sell loquats when then they are still attached to the branch. This makes them last for much longer.
Loquats are amazing fruits that have a citrusy tropical flavor with a slightly tangy undertone. They also have a sweet, pleasant aroma. I have not met anyone that hates loquats. I am sure you wouldn’t either.
In case you have been skeptical about trying them out, this is your cue to do so. You won’t regret it.