Foraging is quite a dangerous activity in the urban jungle. You never know what pesticides are being sprayed on what you're picking or if some grumpy old man is going to run out of his front door yelling at you with a shot gun. I guess I justify this danger by remembering that I most likely consume harmful toxins every day – from the laundry detergent I use on my pillow cases to the highly processed foods that I have to, ashamedly, confess I love. AND finally I run the risk of dying in a road rage mishap anyway...being a stereotypical Asian female driver on the roads in Houston, it's likely that I'll be at the risk of angering a Texan who loves the 2nd amendment. In this spirit, what’s wrong with ingesting a few more bad things?
I thought it would be good to take the photos of the loquats in my Butterfly Gold Cinderella 444 bowl because I like the layers of repeating colors. The color of these loquats are totally reminiscent of this Pyrex pattern. And I didn't use any photo filters in this post. The spring is here! And color actually does not need to be messed with or maybe that's just my excuse for being too lazy!
Loquats are rampant around Houston right now. I see these brightly colored fruits on trees all over the city. On sidewalks, perched near the windows in peoples’ houses, and along some busy city streets there are some gigantic branches peeking over tall fences. Trying to exercise a bit of the foraging etiquette I know…I don’t go into people’s property, but if I see them draped into the public walk way, it’s unpopularity evidenced by so many fruits rotting on the ground, then we’ll pick some and take them home. Save it from its misery so to speak.
Now I’ve visited a few of these trees around the city and it seems that they vary in color and flavor. Some are more yellow than orange (may be due to how ripe it is as well as the tree). Some are smaller in size than others. Some have bigger seeds than others. And some are WAY sweeter than others. We’re still novices when it comes to the loquat, but at least now I have a few secret places around town if I ever want some more of these cute little fruits. Fine, this isn’t quite as exciting as having a special morel spot, but one day I’ll get to that game.
I used some of my Lo-J as toppings on my muffins. I put a dollop of the jam in the middle of each muffin before putting them in the oven. There are so many ways you can eat this - with bread and cheese as a fruit preserve on the side or on your favorite brioche. It's all going to depend on how you party in the kitchen.
Easy Lo-J (Loquat Jam)
2 cups deseeded loquats, coarsely chopped
1/4 cup water (or a little more according to the consistency you want)
1/8 cup sugar
1/8 cup brown sugar
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp cardamom
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/3 cup dried cranberries, or other dried fruit (optional)
Stew the loquats in a covered pot, with the water, sugar, and brown sugar until the liquid is reduced and the fruit is tender, but not brown (or it will sort of end up like mine! even though it still tasted fine. Add all the remaining ingredients, and allow to cool covered.
You can only keep this in the fridge for up to a week. But you most likely won't have a problem figuring out how to incorporate it into every meal!