Appears in
On Food and Cooking

By Harold McGee

Published 2004

  • About

Loquats bear little resemblance to their cousin pomes. They are small, elongated fruits of a Chinese tree, Eriobotrya japonica, which was greatly improved by the Japanese and taken to many subtropical regions in the 19th century, notably Sicily, where they are called nespole. They usually ripen early, before cherries. They have a mild, delicate flavor and a wall of carotenoid-containing flesh that runs from white to orange, surrounding several large seeds. U.S. varieties are mainly ornamental and produce small fruit, while European and Asian fruits may approach a half pound/250 gm. They’re eaten fresh, made into jellies and jams, and cooked in a spicy syrup in the manner of “pickled” peaches. Loquats are neither climacteric nor chill-sensitive, and so keep well.