Originating in China, loquats are small oval fruits which grow to about 3 cm in width, 3-5cm in length and in bunches of 5-20. The fruit has a smooth, fuzzy skin of yellow to orange colour and the interior flesh is either white or golden yellow, depending on the variety. Loquats also have 3-5 brown seeds in their centre which cannot be eaten but can be roasted and used as a coffee substitute. As the loquat is a member of the ‘rosaceae’ family, loquats have a similar flavour to apples and pears, but unlike apples, they are soft and juicy rather than crispy.
Australia is a prime place for loquat trees to be grown, as the trees grow well in both subtropics and temperate climates and are drought tolerant. Loquats are generally available in October to November, ripening when many other fruits are not available.
Loquats can be eaten raw, straight off the tree, and they can also be stewed, preserved or dried. The fruit is packed full of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, flavonoids and other nutrients, making it a perfect snack.
Loquats can be found at The Food Forest at Adelaide Showground Farmers’ Market.