Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Ripening fruit on the lifestyle block - Loquats

Once the fruit starts ripening it is a very busy time.
The loquats were first. They were ripening as we arrived in late November.
I had never tried a loquat before. It is a flavour cross between an apricot and a pineapple. It has a low flesh to stone ratio.
We have quite a number of trees. The precise number is too many. There will be some chopping down done as we move into winter.
Loquat tree
If you also find yourself with loquats, these are the loquat recipes we have loved.
Firstly loquat liqueur. This uses the large seeds. I believe it is an Italian thing.
My Aunty passed on this recipe to me.  The almond flavour that results is quite surprising. It tastes like Christmas - like the marzipan on the cake.
Loquat Liqueur
200g loquat seeds
400ml vodka (higher alcohol content the better)
3 pieces of lemon peel (or as much as you prefer or have)
vanilla bean
300g sugar
300ml water
Remove 200g of loquat seeds from their flesh. (This is a large bowl of fruit to get the required number of seeds.)
Leave the seeds in the sun for two weeks to dry. (If you are going away for Christmas, it is ideal to lie out your seeds before you leave and then they are ready when you return.)
Remove the papery shells from around the seeds.
Place the seeds in a bottle with the vodka, the lemon peel and the vanilla bean. Keep covered in a warm place for a month. Shaking every so often as you remember.
Once the month is up. Make a sugar syrup by boiling the sugar and water together. Let it cool. Once it is cool, filter your alcohol to remove the seeds, lemon peel and vanilla bean and add the sugar syrup to the alcohol.
Keep to season for at least two months before drinking.
Loquat liqueur with home dried fruit, home grown nuts
and  quince paste (see quince blog post)

Loquats make an interesting tasting jam, using the flesh (not the seeds). We just used the same recipe as you would for apricot jam and adjusted the sugar to taste.
They also make a very a good crumble if stewed up.
This loquat chutney recipe is also a winner. I adjusted the amounts to match how many loquats I was prepared to prep. Mine took much longer than she says in the recipe to get to chutney thickness. The best test is to drag the wooden spoon through the mixture and when it leaves a trail so you can see the bottom of the pot before it closes over, it is done. We have just started eating this chutney now. So it had 7 months to meld the tastes together.
When preserving you realise the true genius of chutneys. They use a whole lot of fruit and it condenses down into a very small space. My big bowl of loquats became 2 jars of about 500ml of chutney.
Preserving, while quite fulfilling, takes time. My aim is to be preserving efficient. I want to use up my supplies from one season before the fruit kicks off again in the next season. I have created a spreadsheet and I am recording how many jars and of what, I am preserving so that I can map our usage and see how many are required in the future.
We purchased two boxes (35 in each) of these 500ml jars and lids to use for preserving, as well as our motley collection of other sizes. We went with 500ml because previously we have bought the 400g fruit cans from the supermarket and these seem to suit most recipes and our family size quite well. I didn't want to end up having too many half empty preserving jars cluttering the fridge. As the loquats fell off the trees or were all eaten by the birds, the cherry plums started ripening....

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5 Favourite Sights Seen

  • 1996 Watching tropical lightning turn night to day, outside a little wooden church in a small village in Sabah.
  • 2004 Flying down the Rainbow Valley at 8000ft in a cessna on a clear blue day.
  • 2003 Seeing and hearing Michael Schmacher rolling out of the pit garage in his Ferrari in Hungary.
  • 2009 Chancing upon 100 or more dolphins just off the Kaikoura Coast swimming around, jumping out of the water, doing somersaults and generally having fun.
  • 2006 Finding a pool at the bottom of a waterfall in the bush at Kaikoura that was full of playing baby seals.