Loquat Chutney - Chinese Fruit Meets Indian Flavor ~ The Garden of Eating - a sinfully good blog about food

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Loquat Chutney - Chinese Fruit Meets Indian Flavor

We're in the thick of loquat season here in Berkeley. Many of the loquat trees are so laden with these exotic orange fruits that they look as if they might actually topple over.
Loquats by Eve Fox copyright 2008
Since I lived on the east coast for 29 years without ever once encountering a loquat tree, I realize that many of you may be wondering what on earth a loquat is... If so, loquats are a delicious fruit that are native to southeastern China but that also seem to flourish here in California. They have a juicy flesh that is somewhat firm and very sweet. Their flavor is hard to describe but I personally think it falls somewhere between an apple and an apricot, if you can imagine that. Each fruit contains two big, beautiful seeds that look like little balls of polished wood).
Loquat seed
Although it is extremely easy to forage for loquats here in North Berkeley, my brother and his family actually have a big loquat tree growing behind their house which makes it even easier to pick them.
Bowl of pitted loquats
We recently got together to make a big batch of loquat chutney. The fruits are a perfect choice for this spicy, sweet treat. My adorable niece Lila helped pick the loquats and did her share of eating the fruits, too, as her sticky little face can attest.
Lila with her bowl of loquats (very proud)
The seeds do make this task a bit more time-consuming but many hands will make the work go quickly so this is a good thing to do with friends. I recommend making a big batch and canning it since a jar of loquat chutney makes a very nice gift.
1/2 pint jars of loquat chutney, fresh from a refreshing boiling water bath
I made a special label for my jars (move over Martha Stewart...) which you can see below and are also welcome to use for your own jars if you like. I took my inspiration from a beautiful Chinese painting of a loquat tree and bird from the time of the Song Dynasty (though my version is done in colored pencil.) For more detailed instructions on how to can foods, read my "how to" post here or check out Sunset magazine's nice online tutorial.
Loquat Chutney Label, copyright Eve Fox 2009
Loquat Chutney

Ingredients

* 1 1/2 pounds loquats -- washed, de-seeded and cut into small pieces
* 1 pound onion -- chopped
* 1/2 pound apples, grated
* 1 pound sugar
* 2 teaspoons mustard
* 2 teaspoons sea salt
* 1 teaspoon curry powder
* 1 tbsp mustard seeds, crushed
* 1 tablespoon molasses
* 2 tbsps fresh ginger, peeled and julienned into thin strips
* 1 pint (2 cups) apple cider vinegar
* 2 cups water
* 1/4 cup raisins or currants

Directions

1. Put all the ingredients in a large pot and bring to a boil. Cook gently until soft and a good color, about 1 - 1 1/2 hours, stirring regularly to prevent the chutney from sticking or burning.
Chutney cooking
2. Boil the canning jars (1/2 pint , 1 pint, etc., the size is up to you) and lids to sterilize them (you can also sterilize them in your dish washer if you prefer.)
Sterilizing the jars.
Pour the hot chutney into the hot jars, being sure to leave half an inch of headroom in each jar.
Filling the jars with loquat chutney. The sterilized funnel makes it a neater process.
Drop the sterilized lids on, cover with the rings and tighten until well closed.
My husband tightening the lids on the jars of loquat chutney before they go into the canner
3. Process the sealed jars for 10 minutes in a boiling water bath. Remove the jars from the boiling water bath and let cool in a draft-free place overnight. Check the lids to make sure they've popped down to ensure they're properly sealed (I love the sound the jars make as they seal.) If any of the lids have not sealed properly, refrigerate those jars and use them right away. The rest can be stored in a cool dark place for 9 months.

This chutney is a nice accompaniment to roasted meats, lamb burgers, kabobs of all kinds, Indian food, vegetable fritters, and many more things.


You may also like the following posts:

On Canning and Preserving

On Foraged Foods

26 comments:

maybelles mom said...

Sounds delicious. Loquats bring me back to my days in Berkeley.

Lynn said...

Enjoyed this post Eve. I've never had a loquat, it's nice to get introduced. I have a huge amount of apricots sitting on my kitchen counter that have been waiting for me to make them into jam. Since apricots are calling my name, and I don't know where to get loquats in Sacramento, I'll try your chutney recipe and substitute apricots!

Alicia said...

Sounds scrumptious. I'll have to see if Whole Foods have any. I haven't eaten on fresh since my best friend & hubbie lived in Berkely while he was at U of C. Loved visiting.
A zest fourth weekend to you!!!
I love how Lila is in the spokemodel stance...too cute!!!

Kristie said...

What a lovely loquat photo of little Lila. She's just scrumptious.
Love, Kristie

Laura said...

We have a loquat tree in our backyard that has a ton of fruit. We made 3 batches of your chutney. It is FABULOUS!! Thank you for sharing the recipe!

John Hutt said...

Did you peel the loquats?

Eve Fox said...

Hi John, nope, no need to peel them, just wash and remove the seeds (which is rather time-consuming, but worth it!)

Emma said...

Is that much sugar necessary for the recipe to turn out? My loquat tree is very full, and your recipe sounds delicious, and much more versatile than jam! I'm very new to preserving foods, don't eat much sugar, and never use artifical sweeteners, so the large volume of sugar is freaking me out a bit :)
Thanks for any guidance!

Eve Fox said...

Hi Emma, it is an astounding amount of sugar, isn't it? I'm sure you could cut it down some but you need to keep in mind that sugar is part of what preserves the food so you'd probably want to eat it in the short term and not save it for months and months.

Emma said...

Ahhh, I see :) I actually didn't think of sugar as the preservative since this is a new endeavor for me. Thank you so much for the guidance - I think I'll just make it like the expert advises instead of testing my inexperience with such a labor intensive fruit!

mmann55 said...

What is the yield? How many half pint or pint jars are needed?
Tx...Mike

JB said...

I'm just curious about the origin of the recipe and whether you pH test? Thanks!

Eve Fox said...

Hi JB and Mike, so sorry but the recipe was from my sister in law and I believe she might have found it online so I can't provide any clear source for it (but can vouch for its tastiness and that it stays fresh and yummy for up to a year when properly canned.) As for the yield, it's also too late to say that with any certainty but just line up your jars and be prepared either way, I'd say. And no, I don't pH test but this recipe has enough sugar in it to drop a horse...

Eira Wyn Jones said...

Hello Eve Fox!
You don't happen to have any of the Loquats from this season preserved do you? Perhaps frozen, jarred or tinned? Even dried? I'm a researcher for a television company in the UK and We are planning on makibng an item on the programme about Loquats but we need to show the viewer what Loquats are. If you'd like you can get back to me through this email adress: ymchwilydd@cwmnida.tv
Blessings!

Eira Wyn Jones said...

Hello Eve Fox!
You don't happen to have any of the Loquats from this season preserved do you? Perhaps frozen, jarred or tinned? Even dried? I'm a researcher for a television company in the UK and We are planning on makibng an item on the programme about Loquats but we need to show the viewer what Loquats are. If you'd like you can get back to me through this email adress: ymchwilydd@cwmnida.tv
Blessings!

Virginia said...

Hello Eve and all,

Firstly thanks for posting this recipe... Made chutney three days ago and the result tastes good but the vinegar Favour is quite overpowering... Not sure if that's how chutney is supposed to taste.

Which leads me to the "useful" comment, I don't think that the sugar can be cut because it balances the vinegar, otherwise it would be really strong.

And my question: do you make the measures in the recipe as unprepared fruit (with skin and seeds/core) or is it the fruit flesh weight?

Also was wondering if you use brown or yellow mustard seeds, I only had brown, so I used those.

Anonymous said...

Great recipe! I cut the sugar to 1 1/2 cups, added extra raisins and some cayenne pepper. Made 2 batches! Plan to give as gifts to friends with a sophisticated palate!

Eve Fox said...

Anoynymous, great idea about the cayenne! So glad to hear it. I also gave a bunch of my yield away as gifts (hence the purty label) and it was well received.

Virginia, sorry for the slow response - the measure is of pitted fruit (no need to peel them, though). I did not have the overpowering vinegar issue. Perhaps it needed to cook a bit longer? The mustard seeds I used were brown, I believe.

Catherine said...

Eve,I've been making Loquat chutney for a few years, as I have some huge trees. This year is a bumper crop of huge fruit. I am very excited and tried to pick as much as I could before the birds get them all. The only difference in my recipe is that I also add julienne strips of dried apricots.

I live in Austin, and my neighbors come and pick loquats as soon as I have enough for several batches. If I can figure out how to send a pic, I will.

Kind regards,
Catherine, "older lady chutney maker"
p.s. I have never seen loquats in stores including whole foods or Central Mkt.

pss. You might tell your readers not to freak out when their fingers turn brown from the fruit, it does come off with soap and water after a couple of days. Yikes.

Eve Fox said...

Good point about the brown fingers - I'd forgotten about that, Catherine. Lucky lady to have your own tree!

Catherine said...

Hi Eve, it is me again, Catherine. We harvested so many loquats. Ended up with 27 cups of fruit that made 9 pints of chutney. It turned out really delicious. Yes my fingers are still stained.
I also added dried apricots, cut into strips. Because of the amount of fruit I had to adjust the ingedients a bit, but it is so good. I had barbeque spare ribs for dinner and with the chutney...oh my..so good. If I knew how, I would send you a pic. Thanks for your help. Catherine

Catherine said...

Hi Eve, it is me again, Catherine. We harvested so many loquats. Ended up with 27 cups of fruit that made 9 pints of chutney. It turned out really delicious. Yes my fingers are still stained.
I also added dried apricots, cut into strips. Because of the amount of fruit I had to adjust the ingedients a bit, but it is so good. I had barbeque spare ribs for dinner and with the chutney...oh my..so good. If I knew how, I would send you a pic. Thanks for your help. Catherine

Eve Fox said...

Hurray! It sounds delicious :)

Unknown said...

Eve, The mustard in the recipe...is that prepared yellow, or some other type prepared, or dry? Also, my loquats are fairly small, do you have a good estimate of measured, prepared fruit? I can wing it, but always like to make a recipe as written before playing around with it. Thank you!

Unknown said...

Eve-
The mustard in this recipe-is it prepared yellow, some other kind of prepared, or dry? Also, my fruit is fairly small, do you have an estimate of the amt. of prepared fruit? Thank you!

Eve Fox said...

Hi there, there is both prepared mustard and mustard seed in the recipe. To be honest, I think it's a pretty flexible recipe so you could use any kind of prepared mustard (and you could probably also use powdered instead though perhaps use half as much) and I think you could use either brown or yellow dried mustard seed. Just taste as you go! This is just about flavor so there's no need to be worried about amounts for preserving purposes.