"There is no excellent beauty that hath not some strangeness in the proportion" Francis Bacon 1561-1626

Saturday, 28 March 2009

Leaf of the Day: The Loquats are Ripe

I know I have been here over a year now because everywhere the Loquat trees are full of delicious and ripening fruit. This was my first free food discovery here in America and, having tasted them, I could not believe that so many local trees were left un harvested. There are many ways of serving these little fruits, I like the idea of preserves eaten on hot buttered toast, but they are delicious eaten, just picked, from the tree. There are at 2 trees at Leu Gardens which are bearing fruit and another one the Bronze Loquat, Eriobotrya deflexa which is only a small immature tree but is already very handsome with beautiful big serrated leaves. This variety will only have small fruit but the leaves are magnificent.

The Loquat I have drawn is Eriobotrya japonica also known as the Japanese medlar, or in Spain as the Nispero. The name is derived from "erion" which is Greek for wool and "botrus" for grape, which quite neatly describes the fuzziness of the stems, leaves and sometimes the fruit too. I wrote about it last year here so I won't repeat myself, only to say that if you haven't tried them you really must!




I picked a few fruit a couple of days ago but when I went back many had been eaten or picked, here is one of the culprits.



Loquats are very delicate and pulling them off the stem bruises the fruit. You have to eat them, (or draw them) quickly, as they don't last. The one I cut open was beautifully juicy but browned quickly as I was drawing it. The thin skin of the fruit is yellow or orange, sometimes tinged with red and there are the remains of some flowers on the slightly fuzzy stem. Inside are up to 5 large brown seeds that have a golden sheen to them.

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The Loquat or Nispero




3 comments:

Shady Gardener said...

You're seeing cardinals? I guess they have a much larger range than I'd guessed. The fruit sound delicious!!

kate said...

Growing up there was a loquat tree just outside my window. When the loquats started to get ripe you would hear rustling in the tree every night, and little "plop plop" of the pits hitting the sidewalk below it. Whenever I looked out the window I would see possums or raccoons up there. They are so yummy but there were never many left for us to eat! They remind me a bit of apricots.

sharp green pencil said...

Yes SG, the cardinals are here all the year round. I was so delighted to see them. Such vivid colour against all the green.
and thanks for your experinces Kate. I dont blame the animals for helping themselves, they are so delicious but it's hard to say exactly what they taste like, isnt it?