Lovely Little Loquats

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Lovely Little Loquats

By Paula Deen

As a Georgia girl who grew up pulling greens from the ground and pluckin’ oranges and peaches right from the tree, I’m real familiar with what grows in the Southeast. So you can imagine my surprise when Jamie stopped by my house the other day and said, “Mama, my loquat trees didn’t produce any fruit and yours are just loaded!”

“Jamie,” I said, “where exactly are those trees you’re talkin’ about?”

He looked at me like I was crazy. Apparently I have about 50 loquat trees on my property—practically an orchard right here under my nose. And the thought that some delicious fruit could go to waste on my watch just about made me sick.

“Well, let’s go eat some loquats then!” I told him.

A Sweet Little Snack
Jamie took me outside and showed me what looked like thousands of little yellow-colored apricots weighing down the branches of my once overlooked trees.  He popped those fruits in his mouth whole, straight off the tree. I was a little more cautious, at least at first. Loquats are firm and the skin is a bit “hairy,” so I took the time to peel mine. Inside the fruit are about three or four big, smooth seeds that you gotta watch out for, but Lord have mercy, once I got started eatin’, I couldn’t stop.  I don’t know how many I ate, but I discovered that I just love me some loquats.

I felt a little silly not knowing that I was surrounded by this bounty—that is until I started sniffin’ around and learned that loquat trees are not actually native to our region. Cultivation spread from China to the rest of the world and eventually came to the States by way of Hawaii. Some folks say that the trees north of Jacksonville don’t bear fruit, but I beg to differ.

Birds Begone!
The only problem is that loquats come all at once. The birds, however, are in the know and were on those loquats like white on rice. My quick-thinking assistant, Brandon, came to the rescue, hanging some tin pie plates that supposedly will keep the birds away ‘cause they don’t much like things that are noisy and shiny.

Loquats for Later
The next issue at hand was what to do with all that fruit. We called the grandkids over and had ourselves quite a feast, and what we couldn’t eat, we collected in baskets so I could make loquat preserves much like I do with my mouth-waterin’ wild plums.

I thought for sure that I knew every fruit under the Southern sun, but clearly I was wrong—to the delight of my son who, like any child, just loves the chance to teach his mama something new.

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Leave a Comment

Reader Comments:

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My mom and I do a lot of jelly making and i have never heard of Loquat trees but i sure am going to try and find somebody close by that has some. thants for the tip.

By Barbara Summey on March 07, 2014

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Like Paula, I just recently learned what this lovely fruit is. I have a loquat tree in my yard and we had no idea what those little yellow things were. I want to add that loquats have no shelf life. Once you pick them, you have to do something with them. Here are some great recipes. The jelly is delicious! It tastes similar to plum. http://www.loquatworld.com/LoquatRecipes.html

By Regina Cooper on December 28, 2013

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Paula, You brought so much to the Food Network and now there is very little to watch. You brought believability to the cooking shows and that is really hard to find. I love your boys shows as well because they are so real and down to earth just like you and Michael. I am so glad that you are doing other things and i will be happy to see you continue to expand your line of products. May God Bless your family. BY Nita Moore

By Anonymous on November 22, 2013

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I would love a recipe for loquat preserves or jam. It seems to me that it would be a real pain to get the sweet fruit out of all the seeds and skin. I have a tree and tried to eat a few but got tired of the seeds and the bitter skins.I would love to see how you do it. Thank you for staying the course. You were born to teach.

By Renita Madrid on October 06, 2013

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Food network and others that have stopped carrying Paula's projects, only did it for their own purposes. They all were afraid that they would lose money if they didn't distance themselves from her. God bless you Paula.

By Jodie roberts on August 09, 2013

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Paula, you are so very much missed on the Food Network. What happened to you is so upside down, it defeats logic. Charlie Rangel just used a racial slur, and not a peep from the same media. What's going on in America? I wonder what's in Charlie's closet? Best wishes to you and your family ... stay strong and remember we love you!!!

By Kitty Miller on August 05, 2013

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I want you to know that I am thinking about you every day and you are in my prayers. Nothing else needs to be said because I dont know where if I would be able to stop saying how I feel. You are wonderful, your family is wonderful and you have been an inspiration to many many people. Continue on girl...

By Barbara on August 05, 2013

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Paula, sending my love and the love of all my family! Theres nothing to watch on the Food Network since you're not there..still can't believe this has happened! You have a beautiful spirit, trust God..vengance is his and he will repay! You have so many people that are standing with you..much love!

By Marsha Newton on August 04, 2013

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Paula, I just want you to know that so many people are supporting you. Hang in there and remember that this too shall pass. Much love to you!!!

By Erin Geren on August 03, 2013

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Paula, I miss you so much on TV. You are a blessing to all Southern women and I know you will be back. Look forward to the day I see you back on TV. God Bless Ya Peggy Mangum Georgia

By Anonymous on August 02, 2013

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JUST RECEIVED MY ORDER FROM PAULA DEEN'S STORE. I AM VERY HAPPY WITH EVERYTHING I ORDERED, ESPECIALLY MY COOKBOOK STAND. CAN'T WAIT UNTIL I GET MY FIRST MAGAZINE. LOVE YOUR RECEIPES. STAY THE WAY YOU ARE. WE LOVE YOU. I CANCELLED MY SUBSCRIPTION TO FOOD NETWORK AND I TOLD THEM WHY. BOTTOM LINE--- WITH GOD'S HELP WE CAN ENDURE AND OVERCOME WHEN WE ARE DONE WRONG.HE NEVER CLOSES A DOOR WITHOUT OPENING ANOTHER. LOVE YOU AND GOD BLESS JUDY

By JUDY MCKINNEY on August 01, 2013

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I miss your show sooooo much. I feel that you have been punished long enough. We all have said things in the past and I bet even the producers. The words, yes, I don't feel calls for the show to be banned. "He who is without sin may he cast the first stone." No one is perfect and the one perfect Person died for us. He is judge and jury...

By Sarah Crouse on July 30, 2013

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I so miss you Paula Deen. You a great inspiration to all of us and hope all things pass and move on for you and your family. I sure miss watching you on TV. I keep up with your website and Pinterest. I do like watching Bobbie and Jamie. Stay strong my friend.

By Cherrie Sabel on July 29, 2013

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My prayers are with you and your family, I will always follow you, I feel for those who judge others ( I wouldn't but it past them that they have some skeletons in their closets), besides that you'll always be #1 in my cookbook, stay strong and God Bless. The food network has been boycotted from my viewing! Susan

By Susan Gambone on July 27, 2013

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Hey Paula! You can make it, you did it once. You have experince and a family, husband and friends to help now. YOU CAN OWN YOUR TV STATION and PRODUCE YOUR OWN TV PROGRAM Don't quite now, too many people believe in you. We love ya!!!........ Helen

By Helen M. West on July 27, 2013

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dear paula I love you and make your receipts all the time I am called up and ask to make something that I have made from you. what has been done to you is just terrible I only watched food network to watch you now I do not watch them anymore. I am glad that I have found this sight you are paying for something that happen so many years ago they have blown this up and made it more than it is tired of people like you so very nice and kind have to pay for something so long ago when is this going to stop you know we are people also is this worth them treating you like this it seems to me no different just remember they have no right to judge you I bet if you where poor this would not be happen to you but as I said they should not judge that is up to god to do I hope I can still find your receipts and just know I love you keep that head up high you deserve it from sandy

By sandra beckner on July 26, 2013

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I agree with the positive comments, the Food Network is just not the same without you there...now, I only watch Jamie's show and continue to watch Bobby on the Cooking Channel. I hope and pray that those who meant you harm will see you rise to the top. I am still shocked and amazed that so many pulled their support from you when you were just being honest. Again, I know that you will get past all of this and be even better then before. I continue to support you 100%.

By Tracy on July 26, 2013

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NOT GOOD WITH WORDS..BUT SO PROUD OF YOU AND HOW YOU ARE HANDLING THE CHANGES IN YOUR LIFE..LET ME SAY I THINK YOU ARE A HONEST CARING PERSON.. I BUY YOUR GOODS AND AM GLAD TO SEE NOT ALL STORES ARE TAKING THEM OFF THE SHELVES..LOVE YOUR NEWS LETTERS...LORIE

By LORIE LALONE on July 23, 2013

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Dear Paula, You call them louquats. I was taught by the old folks to call them Japanese plums. Next year I plan to make some wine out of them, so give me a call and I will come get your overripes and windfalls. If they don't have bugs flying on them and smell sweet, the wine will not be any good. I've been making wine since I was twelve, so that's 55 years. This year I made 100 gallons out of strawberries that were going to the hogs. It's too strong and drunks up my wife once a week, so it also keeps us young, which is a good thing. On another topic: I am flabbergasted at the media and their spin on you. I'm also a writer like you and would be glad to help you spin a Southern story of love, acceptance, and poor people working together. Northerners think we are all bigots if our speech has a little twang. They have no idea and are the liers and true bigots with flame throwers. Perry Hall(filmpencil)

By Perry Hall on July 23, 2013

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paula just found this! Love you and your show. You and your family are in my familys prayers! i dont watch foodnetwork anymore since you are not there!

By grtchncrwy on July 22, 2013

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