Have You Tasted Bermuda Loquats?
I can remember picking Bermuda loquats, also known as Eriobotyra japonica, off the tree in the back yard of the family homestead and eating them right then and there. This is the common way Bermudians tend to eat the fruit.
It is not uncommon to see people stop their vehicles and climb up on guard rails, walls or wooden fences just to pluck a handful of these delights.
Loquats hanging on a tree
When is it best to eat the fruit?
They are very tasty when ripe. It is best to eat them when they are yellow to dark orange in colour, as this is when they are at the peak of sweetness.
Is this an endemic fruit of the island?
It is not an endemic fruit found on the island. This lovely fruit, originally from Malta, was introduced to the island back in the 1800’s by Governor Reid. The thought was that with the introduction of these fruits they will discourage birds from eating the local citrus fruits.
As a result they can be found all around the island in parks, back yards, alongside the roads and in gardens.
When does this fruit ripen?
The fruit ripens in late winter and early spring. The leaves of the small evergreen loquat tree are thick and woolly on the underside. The fruit itself is small and pear shaped with furry skin.
This fruit has many uses...
This fruit can be used in so many ways. They can be eaten fresh or preserved, as a potent liqueur with gin, vodka or rum as its base, stewed, as a chutney, jam as a soufflé, as pie filling or even drunk as wine.
The leaves can make attractive decorations for the home. The picture of the fruit can be found in many local artists’ collections, on jewellery and even on souvenir cutting boards!