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.
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.
Dear, Paula Deen
Well I think you are the most amazing person, you are my role model if they took you off from the set I would of died inside your the best cook and I can't waite to see you again
Alexis Conner in Summer Salad Days on December 04, 2013 at 4:59 pm
Paula, I used to watch your show on Food Network a lot when I still had the TV and cable many year ago. You weren't even that big a star back then. I always love watching you cook on Youtube after I ditched my TV and cable and read your recipes on Food Network Magazines. I hope one day you can return to Food Network and the Food Network Magazine. I stop buying the magazine since you were gone.
Orindary Jane in Love at Last on December 04, 2013 at 2:32 am
Great blog Cindy!!!! I always enjoy reading your post. This Thanksgiving centerpiece is absolutely beautiful and so easy to make.
Ann in A Perfectly Easy Thanksgiving Centerpiece on December 03, 2013 at 8:10 pm
Paula, made your Zucchini Custard Casserole for Thanksgiving and it was Fantastic!!! Thank you so much! Love you & your family. Happy holidays!
Pat Walker in Love at Last on December 02, 2013 at 8:45 pm