A loquat tree grows on my patio. At the moment, almost every limb ends with a cluster of round, plum-sized yellow fruits. The limbs are high overhead and I could only reach (by standing in a chair) two last night when I determined it was harvest time. Still I collected a bowlful.
I'd heard someone say I had a Japanese plum tree but I'd never taken the time to find out much about it. This week the newspaper carried a story about the loquat or Japanese plum and offered up several recipes for using the fruit.
Wow! I had a food source outside my window and I didn't even know it. You see, I'd assumed that the round objects weren't edible. Otherwise, I figured someone might have mentioned it. We're talking food here, people. In my world this is not a topic to be ignored.
Yet for weeks, I'd watched the objects grow, and other than fear the clean up when they began to drop, I'd not given a thought to the things.
Now, I'm both consumed by and consuming them. I sat outside last night designing imaginary devices for reaching the top branches. I played out an Alfred Hitchcock influenced storyline when the birds began to feast on them. I engaged in conversations about their flavor, texture, and uses with my neighbors -- having now become the resident expert because you know I'd read an entire article about them.
I've discovered they are tasty -- much like the cherries I plucked off my grandmother's backyard tree when I was a child. I discovered they are lots of work for little gain -- the pits are huge and between them and the outer skin there's little room for actual fruit. And I've discovered that I like them natural -- because there's no way I'm taking the time to peel and cook them. The whole tree might cook up into one jar of sauce! (and that's an if-fy "might")
But I love the idea of the loquat tree on an urban patio offering up its treasure and right outside my door. A tree may grow in Brooklyn but here in Houston we go one better -- ours have loquats!