Loquat Jam

I’m lucky enough to have a mature, 25-foot tall loquat (Eriobotrya japonica) tree in my yard (no, not kumquat).

The tree’s leaves have medicinal properties (easily made into a tea). It’s a prolific leafer, so I get free “carbon” for my compost pile all year long! The fruit has a fuzzy skin, blushes like a stone fruit, and has shiny seeds inside.

Every spring, from mid-March through mid-May or so, its branches hang heavy with this unique, pear-like fruit.

It’s become a rite of spring to gather and collect dozens, maybe hundreds of pounds of this delicacy.

Jamming is a great way to preserve this fruit. It contains its own pectin, so there’s no need to add more when preparing.

I played around with various sugar levels to achieve the right balance of flavor without being too cloying. 40% of the weight of fruit is what I’ve settled on. (Sugar also has a preservative effect, too).

If I don’t have lemons on hand, I use kombucha vinegar or very ripe kombucha in a pinch.

Being a “less is more” kind of guy, I like as few steps as possible. That means, I will cut the seeds out, but leave the membranes, skins, and even the flower ends of the fruit on, since it’s going to be cooked down and blended up anyway. Sometimes the flower end can harbor molds (green or blue visible splotches), so I discard ends with those.

I also like to use the same pot and batch of water to both sterilize my jars, lids and equipment, and then to give the jars a water bath in order to seal them.

 

 

Loquat Jam

Prep Time 15 minutes
Cooking Time 1 hour 30 minutes
Course condiment
Makes 4 cups

Ingredients

  • 2 lbs (900 g) fresh loquats no, not kumquats
  • 1 ½ cup (300 g) raw cane sugar
  • 1 tsp (5 ml) vanilla extract
  • 3 Tbsp (45 ml) lemon juice

Instructions
 

  • Remove stems and seeds from fruits. The flower ends and seed membranes are fine to leave in, as they contain pectin. Add fruit pieces to a 2 quart (liter) or larger saucepot
  • Stir sugar into pot, coating fruits. Let fruit macerate 30 minutes.
  • Add lemon juice and simmer fruit over medium heat for 45 minutes, stirring occasionally to prevent sticking or burning on bottom of pot.
  • In a large canning pot, add jars, lids, rings, tongs, and a canning funnel. Cover with water and bring to a boil 10-15 minutes to sterilize them.
  • Remove jam mixture from heat, and with an immersion blender, blend mixture into a chunky applesauce consistency.
  • Stir in vanilla extract.
  • Remove and drain sterilized jars from canning pot. Leave pot simmering, adding water as needed in order to submerge the tallest jar 1 inch.
  • Carefully strain jam into jars with canning funnel, leaving about 1/2 inch (1 cm) of space from the top of each jar.
  • Add lids and/or rings to the jars, and submerge in boiling water. Boil for 10 minutes.
  • Remove jars and let cool. Loosen rings on jars if using mason rings/jars. Jars will seal themselves as they cool. If any jars don't seal, store them in the refrigerator and consume them first.

Notes

  • Cutting away the flower ends is optional (I leave them), but do cut away parts with blue or green mold, or simply discard any fruits with mold.
  • You can use very ripe (brown or even black colored) fruits for this recipe. In fact, the riper the fruit, the sweeter the jam will be!

 

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