loquat

Pronunciation: [LOH-kwaht]

Though it originated in China, the loquat is also called mayapple, Japanese medlar and Japanese plum. This slightly pear-shaped fruit resembles an apricot in size and color. The juicy, crisp flesh is golden and has a delicate, sweetly tart cherrylike flavor. It surrounds 1 to 3 rather large seeds. Besides China, the loquat grows in Japan, India, Central and part of South America, California, Florida and throughout the Mediterranean. They can be found in produce or farmer's markets and some supermarkets. Loquats bruise easily so they're not good travelers. For that reason, fresh loquats are usually found only in the regions in which they're grown. Domestic fruit can be found April to June, imported loquats in November and December. Choose large fruit with no sign of bruising. Store at room temperature or, if very ripe, refrigerate in a plastic bag. Loquats can be eaten as a snack, added to salads or used in chicken or duck dishes. They're also available dried or canned in Asian markets.

From The Food Lover's Companion, Fourth edition by Sharon Tyler Herbst and Ron Herbst. Copyright © 2007, 2001, 1995, 1990 by Barron's Educational Series, Inc.

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