*This post contains affiliate links. This means that if you click through and give the product a whirl, I get a tiny fee for spreading the news at no extra cost to you.
Reading this article title either caused one of two reactions. You're either right now asking out loud, "What's a loquat?" or you're woke and already know that these common little orange gems are edible and incredibly delicious, and you're scrolling down to the recipe part. (I don't blame you. Get your chips out and get hoppin'.)
For the What's a Loquat? crowd, the loquat (also known as the Japanese plum) is a cultivar of the rose family indigenous to southeastern China. Its more than 800 varieties can be found growing from hothouses in England to Egypt, Hawaii, and Central America. In the US, the loquat reigns across the Southeast from North Florida to Texas and South Carolina, and varietals also thrive in California.
These pretty evergreen trees grow pretty much like weeds with minimal to no maintenance, are incredibly hardy, and produce copious amounts of sweet, tangy fruit, so much so they're often seen as a nuisance in the spring. While unknowing homeowners are looking up at their loquat trees in consternation, I'm standing under them doing my happy dance in a downpour of delicious loquats.
Loquats taste like the sweet and feisty younger sister of peaches and apricots, but you're unlikely to see them in stores because they bruise easily and have a short shelf life. Don't let a few bumps and bruises throw you off! Loquats oxidize, much like a sliced apple or avocado, and they're still delicious despite a couple discolored spots.
I'm notorious for yanking them off trees, buffing their peach-like fuzz off on my shirt, and eating them on the spot. Their large seeds are best spat with great relish and gusto in front of one's proper and ladylike older sister on warm spring days.
If you're not a seed spitter, try this salsa recipe! Your older sister will love it.
Best Loquat Peach Salsa
1 cup pitted and quartered loquats
1/2 peach, chopped (can substitute half of mango, if desired)
1/4 cup finely chopped red onion
1 diced jalapeno pepper, seeds and ribs removed to reduce heat
3 tsp fresh lime juice
2 medium snack sized peppers (can substitute 1/3 large bell pepper)
1 TBS olive oil
dash of cumin
Toss loquats with lime juice, allow to rest for 3-5 minutes. This will delay fruit from browning.
In medium bowl, combine peach, onion, jalapeno, and bell pepper. Add loquats, reserving lime juice.
In small bowl, whisk lime juice, olive oil, salt, pepper, and cumin. Pour over salsa. Enjoy with chips or over black beans and rice with fresh cilantro.
I personally prefer this salsa with the loquat-peach combo over the loquat-mango, but they're both crowd pleasers. I think I ate black beans and rice for a full week just so I could sneak in more of this salsa! It's great on its own or sprinkled over your favorite Mexican dish, and best of all, this salsa makes great use of a low-impact, easily foraged food!
Take the time to familiarize yourself with the distinct characteristics of loquat trees, and keep an eye out for loquats in your area!
Love the vibe but not much for DIYs? Check out Fin & Stem Compost & Cava’s Etsy shop for chic eco-friendly and upcycled gifts!