As you already know from our pecan hunting, and from our extensive edible wild plant guide collection if you have ever seen our bookshelf, Nathanael and I appreciate the merits of fresh, free food. So, after the friend sharing her land with us (for our garden) pointed out one of her trees as an unknown fruit tree a few months ago, I took special note of the developing fruit each week...and I had no idea what they were going to be. Finally, this weekend, when I saw some falling off the tree I decided to test for ripeness, and ended up biting into something wonderfully delicious!
Nathanael thought they might be loquats, and he turned out to be correct. This warm climate fruit was something cold-climate-me had never seen or tasted. It is a distant relative of apples (and cherries, roses, plumbs, peaches, etc.), and has a texture like a plumb or large cherry. The flavor is sweet and tart, like a nectarine with a bit of plumb or berry essence.
Inside, the fruit contains one to three smooth slippery seeds which pop out quite easily, and have a beautiful golden sheen.
Our friend's tree was sparse, but Nathanael recalled having seen a loquat tree planted on campus as an ornamental piece of landscaping, so we ventured out and discovered ripe fruit aplenty.
Nathanael was the primary harvester since he is a bit taller, and because I was eating so many loquats and taking so many pictures. But, I did collect the fruits I could reach.
This is me imagining the loquat popsicles I will make. (And looking a great deal like my grandmother.)
As we walked back I told Nathanael, "I am going to have a loquat orchard." I also told him that I would enjoy being a fruit bat, so I don't know how seriously he is going to take me on the loquat situation.
I am rather enamored with this fruit.
It is certainly on my top five list.
In other foraging news, we have begun to eat the first of the blackberries.
Aren't blackberries supposed to be around in July?!
This climate continues to amaze me.
Do you ever collect from the woods or city landscaping plants?
Have you ever tried a loquat?
What new foods have you discovered lately?