At our last house there was a young loquat tree in the back yard. Clearly planted by previous owners, but in a very shady area of the yard. Either they didn’t know it would need full sun or perhaps the line of trees along the fence were not so big and blocking its sunlight when they first planted it. Either way, it wasn’t flowering at all and just provided a bit of green in winter when most else is leafless. Didn’t produce flowers or fruit for years. Then about 2 years ago, we cut out a hackberry tree nearby and suddenly the loquat was getting a wee bit of dappled sunlight throughout the day for the very first time in its life. The next season it produced a few bloom pods, but no fruit. The next, many more bloom pods, but still very little fruit, maybe a dozen or so, which the local squirrels decimated. This year, it has gone wild producing hundreds and hundreds of loquats!! I pick up about 3# off the ground and off low limbs every single day! I’ve always heard they make great preserves, but they’re so small (most are 1-1½”), I thought “what a pain” to peel and seed these tiny things for so little flesh yield. Yesterday I bit the bullet and decided to try my first batch of loquat preserves.
Loquats don’t have a lot of flavor to me. Sort of a cross between a plum, apple and apricot. But I decided to add a little of my no-cook Meyer Lemon-Orange Marmalade to the preserves and EUREKA! That was magical indeed. Even my husband was quite pleased with these preserves, and he’s quite the jam connoisseur! 🙂 I’m glad there was a huge, established loquat tree at my new house, too. 🙂
This recipe is not acceptable until the higher up fruits rung of the OWL ladder. But if you have a loquat tree, I highly recommend you not ignore those annoying fruit on the ground any longer and give this a try! Well worth the 45 minutes it took to get the fruit peeled and prepared. I plunged them into boiling water a couple minutes to help loosen the peeling like you can do when peeling tomatoes for canning. The cooking part only took 4-5 minutes and the results were FANTASTIC! I’ll not be ignoring my loquat crop anymore!
As with all things using sweetener, I strongly recommend adding half the sweetener and tasting and add remaining sweetener to suit YOUR taste. Everyone’s sweetness preferences vary and I lean toward the sweet side. 🙂
3 lb. ripe (fully yellow, not green) loquats, raw (weighed unpeeled)
2 c. equivalent sugar (I used 2 c.granular Splenda) (use 50 drops EZsweets small bottle)
2 T. erythritol (or 2 T. more Splenda)
1 c. water
2 pkgs. unflavored Knox gelatin
1/2 c. sugar-free marmalade (I used my no-cook Meyer Lemon-Orange recipe)
DIRECTIONS: Wash and stem the loquats. Bring some water to a boil, enough to just cover the fruit and simmer 2-3 minutes. Remove, drain and cool. When you can handle them, peel skin down, slice in center and dig out seed cluster. When all fruit have been peeled and seeded put the fruit and all listed ingredients (except gelatin) into large saucepan, bring to a boil. Lower to medium and cook just until loquats are tender but not reduced to mush, or about 4-5 minutes. Add gelatin last and stir until it is dissolved. Remove from heat, cool and spoon into airtight lidded jars. Makes about 4 c. preserves. It will get thicker in the refrigerator overnight.
NUTRITIONAL INFO: Makes about 4 cups, or 64 Tbsp. Each tablespoon contains:
13.45 cals, 0.05 g fat, 2.73g carbs, 0.4g fiber, 2.33g NET CARBS, 0.85 g protein, 2.3 mg sodium