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How to make loquat jam with cardamom

Loquat jam is sweet and tart, slightly floral and absolutely delicious. Loquats are more commonly referred to as “Japanese plum” and they are high in pectin, which makes them ideal for jams. The flavor of a loquat is a combination of peach, citrus and a little mango, the texture is similar to a pear. If you are looking for loquat recipes and how to use up your fruit, this jam is a great place to start.

Níspero jam in small glass jar with fruit in background.

This easy loquat jam recipe is another simple jam recipe that is great for beginners. It is simple and delicious.

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Loquat jam recipe

Loquat trees are found in tropical climates, so before I moved south, I had never heard of them.

Making jam out of this fruit is easy because they are naturally high in pectin. Pectin is a naturally occurring starch in fruits that helps set the jam. This means, you don’t have to use the store bought kind in the box because the loquats come with plenty of their own.

Japanese plum jam in glass jar with cardamom pods on marble board.

That being said, the very first time I made this jam, I was using frozen loquats that my aunt had given me.

I divided my loquats in half, just in case I messed up the first batch of jam and needed back up. It’s a good thing I did because the first batch didn’t set up as I had hoped. It tasted great, but wasn’t as thick as it should be.

I made a second batch with what I had left, made a few adjustments and it was perfect. The loquats I had were a mixed bag. Some were really ripe, while others were not even close. This wasn’t exactly ideal, but it’s what I had.

What does loquat fruit look like?

Below is a photo of a loquat tree with perfectly ripe loquats on it. Because you can’t buy them at the grocery store, I had to find someone with a tree who was willing to give me some. Luckily, I made a connection with someone and now I have a source!

If you are lucky enough to have a loquat tree or you know someone who has one, pick a few pounds of loquats and make this jam. It is unlike anything you’ve ever had before.

Loquats tree.
loquat tree

Loquats are related to apples, but they taste like a peach mixed with citrus and a bit of mango thrown in for good measure. The flavor is so unique and delicious. If you are picking loquats, look for deep golden yellow colored fruit.  Anything less than that will make your mouth pucker as they can be really tart.

Same a few loquats to make this chutney too. It’s delicious with pork or chicken for a nice addition to dinner.

A couple of weeks ago, I made this jam again with fresh loquats right from the tree that I peeled and seeded myself. This made a huge difference in the outcome. My jam came together much easier than it did the first time because I had perfect fruit.

With the frozen fruit that I had the first time I made this jam, I found I had to add a little pectin to the mix to get it to set up properly. With the fresh fruit, I didn’t need any at all. It set up perfectly.

Watch the full “How to Make Loquat Jam” video

Níspero jam with cardamom and cardamom pods on marble.

Loquat Jam with Cardamom

The other glitch I had the first time I made this jam was with the cardamom. The first round, I used lightly crushed cardamom pods to infuse the jam. It was barely detectable. Obviously unhappy with this outcome, I used ground cardamom in the second batch and it has the “hint” of flavor that eluded the first batch.

When I get my hands on more fruit to make this recipe again, I may try adding more pods to see if I can get the cardamom flavor that I was trying to get the first time.

Here’s what reader Valerie has to say about this jam: “What a wonderful recipe! I just tried this recipe with our first batch of ripe loquats of the season. My husband and I can’t believe how good it tastes. Adding cardamom to loquat jam is inspired – the flavors were meant for each other.”

How to make loquat jam

If you are new to jam making, there are a few things you should know. Get all of your equipment together first. Make sure everything is clean and ready to go. Measure all of your ingredients and have everything laid out. This Strawberry Key Lime Jam post gives you a few tips, if you want to give it a quick read.

Biscuits on plate with jam and jar.

Loquats tend to start turning dark shortly after you pick them, so keep that in mind when cooking with them. You can’t pick them and leave them hanging around for a few weeks.

The lemon juice will help to keep them from oxidizing when cooking. If you are concerned about them browning too much while you’re peeling, add the lemon juice to the fruit and give it a quick toss.

They have a few large seeds in the center, so you’ll need to remove that by splitting them in half and pulling them out. It is up to you whether you want to peel them or not.

They have a thin skin, but if you want a very smooth jam, you’ll need to peel the fruit. The video at the top of this post walks you through all of that. After that, it’s simply a matter of combining everything and cooking it. It’s pretty easy, even for beginner jam makers, which is why this is a great recipe for those learning how to make jam.

Japanese plum jam with cardamom on marble countertop.

More loquat recipes:

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Yield: 28 servings

Loquat Cardamom Jam

Loquat cardamom jam on spoon with jam jar.

Aunt Mona's loquat jam with a little fussing about from me.

Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 1 hour

Ingredients

  • 4 cups loquats, puréed or 6 cups if if is in chunks
  • 2 Tbsp. lemon juice, fresh
  • 2 1/4 cups sugar
  • 1 - 1 1/2 tsp ground cardamom
  • 2 tbsps. pectin (optional - you may not need it)

Instructions

  1. Sterilize 6 half pint jars and lids. Keep warm until ready to use. Set up canning pot with rack and enough water to cover jars by 2 inches. Heat water in canning pot to a simmer so it will be ready to boil when you are ready to seal jars.
  2. Put loquats in food processor and pulse a few times to break them up. Don't puree until smooth, you want a little texture, but nothing bigger than a pea.
  3. In a large, heavy-bottomed, nonreactive sauce pot, add loquat pulp and lemon juice. Over low heat, bring to a boil.
  4. When the mixture is boiling, add sugar (and pectin, if using) and increase heat to medium/medium high. Return to a rolling boil while stirring vigorously for the first few minutes.
  5. The jam will boil anywhere from 30 - 40 minutes depending on your fruit. (Mine needed 35 minutes) 
  6. Stir frequently to avoid scorching on the bottom of pot. You will notice that it gets thicker and a little sticky and syrupy. You'll also notice the foam starts to subside - that's sign you're almost there.
  7. When it begins to thicken and it's almost done, add the cardamom and stir.
  8. Remove from heat and ladle into jars, leaving 1/2 inch space. Wipe rims clean with damp paper towel.
  9. Put lids and rings on jars. Tighten to "fingertip tight" (not too tight) and lower jars into water bath. Process for 10 minutes, remove from water and set on a kitchen towel to cool overnight.

Notes

In the recipe, it is 4 cups of puréed loquat pulp, you'll need about 6 cups of peeled and seeded fruit to yield this amount.

As stated in the video, your fingertips and nails may get a little brown from peeling and seeding. Rinse your hands every now and then while you are peeling and it should help. My aunt complains of this, but I've never had much of an issue with it.

It might be because I rinse my fingertips off every so often while I'm peeling and seeding. It may be because she makes bigger batches of jam and peels more fruit. Either way, if you are a hand model, wear gloves to protect your fingers.

If you prefer very chunky jam, you can skip the step for pulsing in the food processor or potato masher. I like this jam smoother, so I break it up a bit, but it is personal preference.

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Nutrition Information:

Yield:

28

Serving Size:

2 tbsp.

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 80Total Fat: 0gSaturated Fat: 0gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 0gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 2mgCarbohydrates: 21gFiber: 1gSugar: 16gProtein: 0g

Nutrition information calculated by a third-party company as a courtesy. It is intended as a guideline only.

Did you make this recipe?

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16 Comments

    1. Hi Madeline, my loquats are golden colored as well. If they are still a bit green, wait for them to ripen. If they’ve turned brown, toss them.
      Does that help?

    1. Hi Rich! Thank you so much! If you happen to find loquats at a market, please let me know! I usually get them from my aunt & uncle’s tree 🙂

  1. Sounds delicious! I’ve harvested loquats from my backyard tree and am looking to make some jam. I have whole black and whole cardamom pods (no ground cardamom). I don’t have a way to easily grind the seeds, so I thought I could add the pods or seeds to the mixture while it’s cooking and remove them before canning. I thought green might be better, but I’m not sure how many to use and if I should add the entire pod(s) or cut them open and use the seeds. Your feedback would be appreciated!

    1. Hi Laura! I would definitely go with the green cardamom pods. I think I used 3 and I could barely taste it. It depends on how strong of a cardamom flavor you want and also, how fresh are the pods? Can you crack them a little? Not enough to break them open, just a crack in the shell? I’d try 5 pods and see how it goes.Then, remove them before canning. I’d love to hear back how it turns out! 🙂

  2. The concept about actual canning, re. sterilizing jars, leaving headspace, and proper sealing, stresses me out. Would this work as simply refrigerator jam? I realize it wouldn’t “keep” as long as traditional canning.

  3. What a wonderful recipe! I just tried this recipe with our first batch of ripe loquats of the season. My husband and I can’t believe how good it tastes. Adding cardamom to loquat jam is inspired – the flavors were meant for each other.

    1. Thank you so much, Valerie! This lovely comment filled my heart this morning, I am so grateful for that. I’m thrilled that you both loved it 🙂

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