Thursday, April 14, 2005

Loquat About It

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!

1 comment:

Jean said...

Yummy! John and I used to have an advacado tree in our back yard in San Diego and I didn't think we'd actually ever get fruit from it. But we did and it was pretty exciting to see the transformation in the tree. But I have to say, no tree can compare to the Bird of Paradise we had that grew taller than most trees and peered down at us on our second floor balcony. Now whenever I see a bird, I think of how happy it was that year when I found the man I would spend the rest of my life with. Ahhh...