What Are Loquats?
Loquats are lovely, flavorful, juicy and incredibly sweet fruits. I recently was lucky enough to enjoy a large quantity of them, fresh from a tree at Aunt Danielle’s house. You may recall that Aunt Danielle is the expert Vietnamese cook who taught me how to make phở (Vietnamese beef noodle soup). She just bought a house in San Jose, and the previous owner had planted loquat trees. The tree produces so much fruit that she begged us to take some home. She didn't have to ask twice! The girls and I were eating them right off the tree and we brought several pounds home!
A loquat is slightly bigger than a cherry, with yellow skin. The pulp is soft with the taste and texture of a quetsche (French plum) or a ripe pear, but less grainy. They have 2-3 large seeds, similar to custard apples (also known as cherimoya) and very little flesh. When loquats are ripe, they taste just divine. When they're not, they're terribly sour.
Eating them is quite simple; just pull out the stem, peel the skin (it separates from the pulp very easily), remove and discard the seeds and eat the pulp. It's quite a bit of work given the amount of reward, but what a reward it is! If you're fortunate enough to find these exquisite fruits at your local market, pick up a few, wait for them to reach the perfect ripeness and enjoy.