April is upon us, and that means the loquats are here!
What are loquats, you ask?
Also called Japanese plums or nisperos, loquats — not related to kumquats — are a little yellowish orange fruit that grows on trees around Austin. I first had them when I was living in Spain, where you could buy them in the farmers’ markets. Here, however, you have to forage them yourself from ornamental trees planted all over the city. Some neighborhoods have more than others, so if you don’t see them in yours, keep an eye peeled as you drive around town.
Here’s what they look like:
I’ve been obsessed with loquats for years now, and every year, I do my own little PR campaign so that Austinites know that they are not just edible, but delicious and fun to eat, too. I like to peel the outside and then scrape the flesh with my teeth, but some people pop the whole thing in their mouth, chew around the seeds and then spit them out, much like sunflower seeds.
You can make salsa and marmalade and cocktails and barbecue sauce and all kinds of stuff with them, but beware the big seed inside. It’s not hard to remove, but there’s an inner membrane that is best to peel off, too.