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Loquat trees say 'spring is around the corner!'

One of the many perks to living in the Far North is the abundance of food we can grow, gather and harvest ourselves!

Loquats are delicious and super easy to grow here. However, they're often under-utilised or worse, just left for the possums to enjoy!

We have a loquat chutney recipe that our family (...and friends) love! We thought it timely for this post as we use up the last of last years stock and excitedly await this years harvest!

This recipe is well worth the picking and processing of these yummy, albeit tiny fruit.

So...what is a loquat?

The Loquat is a flowering tree or shrub in the Rosaceae family, native to cooler hill regions of China to south-central China. The Loquat plan has made its way far and wide, it is common in Japan, Korea, hilly regions of India, Pakistan also the Philippines, Sri Lanka, Europe, America, and here in New Zealand too!

Loquat flowers appear in the cooler months and the fruit is ripe from early spring to early summer. The fruit of the loquat tree grow in clusters of small oval or pear shaped bunches, with golden to yellow skin sometimes smooth or fuzzy.

Inside, the fruit has a light yellow to golden flesh with large seeds.

According to Wikipedia, “The flavour is a mixture of peach, citrus and mild mango.”

We eat them right off the tree. Skins on or peel the skins off and eat around the big pips, they are delicious!.. But the way we like them best is this chutney recipe.

Enjoy our family favorite loquat chutney recipe !

For the last few years we have made LARGE batches of this recipe changing the quantities to suit how many buckets of loquats we get from our one tree. The largest batch we did was about 10 lbs of loquats (that’s 10 lbs after we took all the seeds out!)

Large batches are great to do with lots of help, as these tasty little morsels are quite fiddly to process.

Have a go at making this delicious loquat chutney it's definitely well worth it!

Loquats Chutney

1-1/2 lbs loquats

1 lb red onion, one large globe finely chopped

1/2 lb apples, Granny Smith finely chopped

1 lb light brown sugar

2 teaspoons dry mustard

2 teaspoons sea salt

1/2 teaspoon coriander

1/2 teaspoon turmeric (sometimes I leave this out)

1/4 teaspoon cumin

dash of cayenne to taste, or not

1 tablespoon mustard seeds

2 tablespoons fresh julienned ginger

OR 4 teaspoons ground ginger

1 cup red wine vinegar

1/3 cup raisins or currants

Loquats, just ripe and not mushy, are washed, de-seeded and cut into small pieces. Determined weight after chopping, so start with about 3 lbs of loquats.

Put all the ingredients in a large open pot and bring to a boil. Cook gently until soft and thick, about 1-1/2 hours +, stirring regularly towards the end to prevent the chutney from sticking or burning. Jar up and, process sealed jars for about 10 minutes in a boiling water bath. Remove the jars from bath and let cool overnight. Store in a cool dark place.

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