The loquat tree.

In my mom's backyard is a loquat tree, the only fruit tree we have.  It came with the house.  When she moved in Thanksgiving time, several years ago, I was living on the east coast.  This time of year, she called to tell me that wild parrots were eating some yellow fruit off the tree.  We had no idea what a loquat was, even though they apparently grow all over Southern California.  I of course tried one as soon as my trip back home correlated with their season ("Mom, if the parrots eat them, then they're not poisonous.")  

Some say they taste like the cross between a lemon and a peach; others say a cross between passion fruit and guava-- I say papaya and a plum.  You can eat their skin although peeling is preferred.  They're only about 1 inch in diameter and come with anywhere between 1-5 hard shiny dark brown pits inside- making them annoying to clean. And since each doesn't yield a ton of flesh, using them in recipes is an ambitious venture, which is why I prefer to eat them raw, warm from the sun.

 *Also, they are distant relatives of the apple and therefore have a high level of sugar and pectin, making them very suitable for jams.

///////////////////////////

Right now is our loquat season!  Here are some snapshots:

the-loquat-tree.jpg

When I say there are wild parrots, I mean that yes, someone must have let loose parrots because there are a flock of green ones that fly around Pacific Palisades.  My mom has counted up to seven in the tree at once.  See if you can spot the two in the pic below.  

The tree itself is really tall and most of the fruit is on the way top.  It makes for a fun time.  The illustration below is of a book of fruit my mom has.  It's in French...you know, the house language of someone who is not us.  We discovered the picture before we knew of the word "loquat" so for a good year or so we were calling them "SAH-POH-TEELS."  No one knew what we were talking about.

 

Above I'm posing with branches.  You should try it.  I should also mention that this was the first time I came out of the house all week after being sick, which should explain the pale/death look.  

Now that I'm back from the dark side, I really want to get more fruit trees for the yard (definitely meyer lemon, fig and avocado), but for now, (say it with me) I LOVE OUR LOQUAT TREE!