Last weekend I was lucky enough to go pick some loquats. I hadn't had them in years; in fact, the last time was probably when I was in Japan as a little kid. Over there they call them "biwa." They're quite delicious! If you've never come across a loquat before, they look a lot like apricots- oval shaped, a peachy-orange colored downy skin and are about a 3-5cm long. However, when cut open they have several glossy brown large seeds in the center instead of a pit. The loquat's flesh is similar in texture to that of a cantaloupe and the fruit tastes like a cross between a mango and an apple. In fact, loquats are part of the pome family and considered a distant relative of the apple. They're are a great source for Vitamin A, manganese and potassium. You can eat them as is but loquats make terrific jams, salsas and fruit hot sauce. You can also use them in pies and cobblers. I used my loquat harvest to make a couple of jars of chutney.
Loquat Chutney (slightly adapted from Garden of Eating)
1.5 lbs of loquats
1 lb. sweet onion, chopped
1/2 lb. apples, cored & chopped
1 lb. granulated sugar
2 teaspoons mustard
2 teaspoons sea salt
1 teaspoon curry powder
1 tablespoon mustard seeds, crushed
1 tablespoon molasses
2 tablespoons fresh ginger, grated
2 cups apple cider vinegar
2 cups water
1/4 cup raisins
1. Wash loquats. Slice around them lengthwise with a sharp knife, twist the halves to open, pop out the seeds and remove the seed membrane. Chop the loquats into small pieces.
2. Put all the ingredients together in a large pot and bring to a boil.
3. Reduce to a simmer and cook for 1.5 hours, stirring occasionally.
4. When done, place chutney in sterilized jars. You can either eat it right away or you can can your chutney.
5. Serve with samosas, meats (roast pork or lamb pair well), on sandwiches or curries.