Loquat stewed in syrup

April 3, 2014  •  Category:


Loquats (called akedenia in Lebanon), used to be my favorite Springtime treat. I saw a street cart vendor selling them lately, huge ones, (I need to snap a picture of him soon) ; a cross between a pear and a mango, with a short season, these fruits are special. They are grown in California and in Dallas, one can find them at the Middle-eastern store.

Loquats originated in China; to this day, the loquat leaf is used in Asian medicine to treat coughing (and other) issues. The fruit itself boasts a very high ratio of Vitamin A and is loaded with potassium. It contains pectin making it an ideal choice for jams or as a filling for pies. The seeds are toxic though and children should be kept away from them.

This is a simple dessert I made one day as an afterthought; stewed loquats funnily taste like apricots.

dup akedenia in bowl

 INGREDIENTS: 4 to 8 servings 

  • 1 lb. loquats, washed and peeled; seeds and inner skin discarded; cut in 2 or 3 pieces; sprinkle with lemon juice.
  • 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
  • 3 cups water
  • 1/2 lemon, juiced
  • ½ cup pistachios, soaked in hot water for 2 hours prior, drained and peeled.
  1. In a large saucepan, place the sugar and cover with the water; bring to a simmer over medium heat; stir from time to time and as soon as the sugar has dissolved, add the loquats to the saucepan; simmer the mixture for 30 minutes; pour the lemon juice the last few minutes of simmering.
  2. When ready to serve, sprinkle a few pistachios in each bowl or place them in a bowl next to the loquats.

NOTE: Replace the loquats with any stone fruit. Loquat treeLoquat tree in the neighbor’s yard in Beirut.


14 Comments  •  Comments Feed

  1. maritachicita @ mydi says:

    Wow they look super interesting. I never ate those until I stumped upon them in Israel. I might be able to find some here in the London. Looking at the ingredients I can imagine how all the flavours go well together. And the pistachios will give it an interesting texture as well!

  2. Susan says:

    Such a beautiful fruit and one I would love to try if they could be found here. I love the sound of cross between pear and mango!

  3. Yasmeen | Wandering says:

    Oh how lovely! My in-laws have a huge loquat tree on their farm. At the end of last season we made about 20 jars of chutney, but this looks like a fabulous way to reinterpret them. I can imagine this would be tasty with yogurt for breakfast.

  4. Leilee says:

    Wow, looks beautiful. I wish I could get my hands on some loquat right now!

  5. Zara says:

    Have never eaten this fruit, but it looks tempting both in fresh and stewed! 🙂

  6. Nuts about food says:

    These look like what are called ‘nespole’ in Italy… I always wondered what those were called in English. Also never knew they were a cross between a pear and a mango or about the seeds. Your blog is always so informative.

    • Joumana says:

      @Nuts about food: interesting! in Spanish nesporas I think, and they love them in Mexico and in French nèfles. Thanks.:)

  7. Oui, Chef says:

    Dang…yet another ingredient I can’t find here. Perhaps I’ll make this with fresh apricots!

  8. humble_pie says:

    i’ve never tasted a loquat but i know i will love this fruit if we ever meet up. The prob with buying it in a specialty store here is distance plus long shipping time. These mean that most fruits are picked while still green. Not a good thing when it comes to loquats, since apparently sweetness only develops in the mature fruit.

    your warning about the slightly toxic seeds made me think immediately about the cyanide compounds – one could call them proto-cyanides, or cyanogenic phytochemicals – that are found in ordinary apple seeds, crab-apple seeds, cherry stones, apricot pits & the seeds of many members of that giant species.

    sure enough, it turns out loquats belong to the same botanical family. This is none other than the rose family. Many rose species with fruits containing stones often turn out to harbour these cyanide compounds.

    they may be slightly toxic, but a few are not going to harm a child past the age of four or five, or an adult.

    of course, no one would want the children snacking on the stones, pits & seeds. But at the same time a sensible parent wants to ask herself, How many children would snack like this? i mean, how many kids would really want to pick out, chew up (would probably break their baby teeth) & swallow 50-100 cherry pits or loquat stones? be honest, now. Probably none.

    even then such a quantity would not be fatal. It would more likely lead to temporary but severe GI distress.

    i haven’t studied traditional chinese medicine, but i suspect that their loquat medicines, including some that may be used as treatments for cancer, were made from the toxic leaves and seeds. It’s a truism that the most effective herbal medicines often tend to come from the poisonous parts of some plants.

  9. Kirk says:

    Here in LA there are plenty of loquat trees but hardly anyone seems to eat them. Great for me as I love making jam and chutney from them, but haven’t tried it with pistachios so that will be part of the next batch. There’s a couple of trees loaded with fruit near a friend’s house so hopefully they will provide the raw material. Weirdly enough it’s the local Russians who like them as they’re my only competition for the fruit!

    • Joumana says:

      @Kirk : I remember, I lived in So California for many years and nobody paid any attention to loquats (in the early eighties) or olives, and I would see them on the street. Glad you at least are enjoying them!

  10. Kirk says:

    Yes! Loquats, olives and sometimes kumquats seem to be disdained. For a while I had a friend with a fig tree next to here apartment and she didn’t like figs so I got those, but sadly she moved!

  11. Judy says:

    I love loquats. We had a tree when I was a kid but I don’t remember eating the fruit. I have a large tree now and have just picked a large bowlful. It’s a race to see whether the birds or I get to them first. I’m going to try your recipe for stewed loquats. Thankyou.

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