The Quats

The latest haul from our other garden comprised loquats, kumquats and bamboo shoots. Loquats, also known as Japanese medlars, are utterly delicious and I really don’t know why you see trees here laden with fruit, seemingly un-harvested. They grow on a Loquat tree or Néflier du Japon <Eriobotrya japonica>. The skin is a bit like a smoother peach and the pulp is slightly juicier than a peach. There are three or four large seeds inside which separate very easily. Each fruit is about the size of a golf ball. The flavour is a mix of peach, plum and citrus. It’s a succulent, juicy fruit.

I noticed that the kumquats on a neighbouring bush were starting to drop so I gathered the few that were left. Kumquats are drier sharper fruit and, unusually for a citrus, are eaten whole as the skin is delicious and quite tender. However our kumquats have fairly chunky pips so I’m not fond of them whole.

I decided to try making a loquat & kumquat jelly/jam. I washed the fruit and gauged the weight in my hand. I added a similar weight of jam sugar and a slurp or two of orange juice and brought them to a boil gently, pricking the fruit with a fork from time to time. After four or five minutes of rapid boiling I poured the liquid through a sieve into sterilised jars, squeezing the fruit to release more juice. I was really pleased to see that it set beautifully. I didn’t test it before putting it in jars. I thought I’d just use it as a coulis if it didn’t set. Everyone in the house has declared it delicious and we all chose it to have on toast this morning.

I’ll let you know when I’ve decided what I’m going to do with the bamboo shoots!

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