20 Jun Have their fill
Great stately trees laden with fuzzy apricot colored nodes stand roadside at the edge of rice fields. Ravens circle, eying the fruit and eyeing me eying the fruit. I envy them, without concern for ownership or property. When the fruit is ripe, they’ll descend, have their fill and fly away. They are immune to reprimand. If scolded, they’ll simply alight to a nearby treetop and wait.
Deference got the better of me and rather than interpret the abundance as permission to poach, I scooped up a few bags of the golden globes at a local market. Here we call them biwa but I was first introduced to them as nispero during a stint living in Central America. In the States they go by the name loquat. When in their prime, the silken fuzzy cloaks are easily stripped away by hand. They are a delight to linger over, peeling one by one and consuming the cool, crisp flesh on increasingly hot and humid days.
But a member of this tiny clan is allergic to pitted fruits in their raw form. Chutneys are a wonderful way to stew them up, paired with a few spices. Vinegar preserves the bold colors and chutneys compliment so many dishes, roasted meats, grilled vegetables, salads and sandwhiches. This loquat chutney is spiced with curry powder, cumin and red pepper. But loquats could just as easily follow the same principles as this relish for a less distinctly spicy affair.
1 tablespoon light oil
1/2 teaspoon curry powder
1/2teaspoon cumin seeds
1/2teaspoon mustard seeds
2 dozen loquats
1/2 an onion
1 small dried red chili pepper
1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
1/4 cup water
2/3 tablespoon sugar
pinch of salt to taste
Chop the onion finely
Peel, pit and chop the loquats and mix with a portion of the vinegar to preserve color
Heat the oil in a small saucepan
Add the cumin, mustard seeds and curry powder – stir and sauté 1 min
Add the onion and sauté until softened
Add the loquats, remaining vinegar, water, sugar, chili and salt
Simmer for 30 minutes or so until the liquid has incorporated
Let cool and store in a jar in the refrigerator