I had no idea what a loquat was, until we moved to Texas and I discovered a loquat tree in our backyard. Unfortunately, the squirrels got to them before I knew exactly what I had in my backyard. So all last year I researched and planned, and found a million wonderful canning recipes for loquats that I was just dying to try.
And then, we moved. We moved before our loquat tree bore any fruit this year, and that made me sad. Now what was I going to do with all these wonderful recipes? You can’t usually buy loquats in the grocery store.
And then I met our new next door neighbor, Nikki. Nikki, who happens to have a loquat tree in her back yard that produces more fruit than she can eat. So she let me raid it for my own nefarious purposes. This was my haul:
Despite their name, loquats are more closely related to apples than anything else. They taste like a plum and an apricot had a baby. And, since they are an asian fruit, I decided to go for broke and make a Chinese five-spice preserve.
Chinese Five Spice Loquat Preserves
- 4 Pints loquats (about 6 cups)
- 4-5 C. granulated sugar
- 1 C. water
- 3 tsp. bottled lemon juice
- 1 Tbsp. chinese five-spice powder
- 1 tsp. ground ginger
Step 1: Prepare your jars, lids, and canner. If you have never canned before, see the tutorial here. Throw a couple of ceramic plates in the freezer. You’ll need them to test for gelling later.
Step 2: While your lids and canner are heating, slice the loquats into thin slices. The loquats have a large seed in the middle (sometimes t hey have more than one). I find it easiest to slice around the middle of the loquat long-ways, and remove the seed before slicing.
also, loquats turn brown once sliced, so unless you work very quickly (or you are lazy, like me) I’d recommend sprinkling some lemon juice over the sliced loquats as you go.
Step 3: Add the sliced loquats to a deep pot. Pour in the water, sugar, lemon juice, and spices, and bring everything to a boil. I added 4 C. of sugar and then tasted it for sweetness. 4 C. was enough for me.
Step 4: Once the preserves have simmered away for 25 minutes, take one of your plates out of the freezer. Spoon a little of the preserve on the cold plate, and put it back in the freezer for a few minutes. Take it out again and push your fingernail against the side of the pool of preserve. If the surface wrinkles, it’s done! If it doesn’t you can either cook it for five minutes more, or add a Tablespoon or two (go with two) of powdered pectin to the mix. I didn’t do either of these things, and my preserves were a little runny. They still taste good, though.
Step 5: Once your preserves are ready, ladle them into 1/2 pint jars, leaving 1/4″ headspace. This recipe made 4 1/2 pint jars for me.
Add the lids and screw bands and proccess the jars for 10 minutes in a boiling water bath. let them sit for 24 hours, then store them in a cool dark place.
These preserves almost remind me of spiced peaches. Almost. I’ve been eating them stirred into yogurt, but they’d be good on just about anything.
If you have access to a loquat tree, or access to a friend who has access to a loquat tree, tell them you’ll give them a jar if they let you pick as many as you want. You won’t be sorry, and neither will they.
P.S. Is it weird that rainy days make my kitchen look super-yellow? It’s not really that yellow, I promise.