Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Loquats anyone?

It's loquat season in our neighbourhood at the moment. This is the view of the side of our house:
Essentially all the loquats you can see in the picture (and more) are technically ours, though the tree is our neighbours'. Similarly, I could be helping myself to the numerous loquats hanging over footpaths around the 'hood (hanging over public space makes them public property). And then there are all the people who share their loquats freely: today our Sicilian neighbour (more on him later) mentioned that another neighbour had opened her front yard for loquat takers; the owners of the tree in the picture said that in their first loquat season a lady turned up out of the blue, bucket in hand, claiming that she had "always" been allowed to help herself to the fruit of this tree!

This abundance of loquats is all very nice, but what do you do with loquats??

Of course you can eat them fresh: I've been doing this, and though they're ok, I'm keen enough to do anything more than have a nibble now and then. I am also a bit wary of eating too many, given that my first encounter with loquats was in My Family and Other Animals, where Gerald Durrell linked excess loquats to... erm... excess lavatory visits. After that comes chutneys, pickles, jams, fruit wines... which I should get into rather than waste a good crop. Maybe next year? This year I think most of ours will keep the ringtailed possums full enough that they avoid the vegie patch!

The other noteworthy feature of "our" loquat tree is its genealogy. It's derived from a seed taken from a tree a few blocks away, which in turn was grown from a seed brought from Sicily by our Sicilian neighbour. I wonder how many other loquats around the neighbourhood have the same or similar heritage?

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