Ask anybody: I’ll tell you how, I’ll tell you when, I’ll tell you where and how often.
I’m really an open book when it comes to what I do every day. I love knowledge and learning about food and enjoy surrounding myself with like-minded individuals; sharing that knowledge is how we all grow. However, there are a few exceptions. Some things just become counter-productive when you share. For example, concerning fishing, I’ll tell you how and where I caught ‘em, but only if I’m not going out tomorrow or the day after. Or my A-plus Kitchen repair guy; you know, I’d love to give you Will’s number, but he’s too busy as it is and, baby, when my freezer goes down…well, you can imagine. And inner-city foraging; OK, so not everyone has a need for this information, but you are f#*king crazy if you think I’m giving up my Loquat locales.
Childhood food recollections are what I am all about, just check out my menu; collards, chicken and dumplings, gumbo and yeast rolls from Birdie-Bea and Ma Daigle, my Grandmothers. Redfish on the half-shell and love of all things mayonnaise from Olin “Swede” Augustus Caswell, my Grandfather. And foraging as a child growing up in
The Loquat (Eriobotrya japonica) is part of the Rose (Rosaceae) family, whose members include apples, pears, quince and most stone fruit (like cherries, plums, apricots and even almonds).
An evergreen tree (one of the reasons I believe it is so prolific in Houston), the Loquat’s oval, cherry-sized, pear-shaped fruits grow in clusters, with a fuzzy peach-like skin and a tart apricot-like mouth feel. Ripening only on the vine, Loquats will hang tight in refrigeration for about a week, but quickly become bruised if not left on the stem. They contain a high amount of pectin so lend themselves well to jellies, either solo or with a partner. The seeds definitely need to be removed before cooking because they contain a small amount of Cyanogenetic Glycocices, which releases cyanide when digested, which is bad. Interestingly, when you eat the fruit in large quantities, it produces a calming sedative effect for up to 24 hours, which can be good (depending on your affinities).
The Loquat is of Chinese origin and was introduced and naturalized into
The most important thing to know is that the Loquat LOVES Houston. Once you know what they look like, you too can keep watch on your Loquat locales, and come Spring, check on them daily for ripeness. But if you see me hanging out by a tree in your neighborhood, be ready to tussle.
Loquat and CardAmom PRESERVES recipe
1 quart of Loquats, washed and seeded (discard all seeds)
1 1/2 cups water
1 1/2 cup sugar
8 each toasted cardamom pods
In a saucepan over low-medium heat, dissolve the sugar in water, then add the loquats and cook until the fruit has become transparent. Stir frequently to keep from burning.
Spoon into hot canning jars and top with lids. Tip - a good way to guarantee that your jars get a good seal, place them in your dishwasher (after you fill and put the top on) and run the hottest cycle (without soap, of course!).