Fruit of the Season: How to Pick and Eat Loquats (or Nisperos, or Pípa)
I'd just like to dedicate a post to my new springtime obsession, loquats! Known as nisperos in Spanish, they're a fruit native to China where it is called 枇杷 (pípa), but now the fruit is found in various place around the world.
I'd have to say, loquats, nisperos, and pípa are all fun words to pronounce, in their own individual way!
I've read that they're full of vitamins and minerals, and even omega 3 and omega 6 fatty acids (?), but I love them for the unique taste, texture, and juiciness, which I'll describe later!
Recently, I had the privilege of visiting the grove of my roommate's dad, where he has just one loquat tree - but look how huge it is, compared to the surrounding orange trees! Here in Valencia, the loquats come around in the spring, in the tail end of the strawberry season and overlapping with the start of the cherry season.
The loquats grow in clusters.
What's neat is that they're very easy to pick; no tools required. You just grab the stalk and it separates easily from the branch.
I've learned that the tastiest loquats are the ones that appear bruised or tarnished. Those are the sweetest and juiciest. The uniformly yellow ones, while pretty, can actually be underripe.
These loquats which we picked from the tree are actually on the small side.
These are more "normal-sized" loquats, which I bought in the supermarket. They are super easy to eat: I peel the skin off just with my hands, starting from the top kind of like a banana. That reveals a sweet, tart, and juicy meat that's easy to separate with your fingers; it's a touch softer than an apricot, and not mushy at all. The taste is bright and clean, kind of like a cross between an apricot and a peach. Inside there are a few large pits which fall out easily.
I don't know why loquats aren't more widespread. Maybe the season is short, and/or they are kind of fragile to transport (and those sweet, bruised-looking fruit aren't the most visually appealing)?
Maybe because of this scarcity, I'm doing all I can to chow down on loquats while I can!