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.
Three months after I moved to Florida, I went to visit my aunt and uncle who live here part of the year. My Aunt Ramona made loquat jam and asked if I would like to try it. Of course I replied with a resounding “YES”, as I am never one to refuse food.
Then we went outside to pick a few off of her tree. Standing in the sunshine, eating fruit right off the tree, still warm from the sun is one of life’s greatest pleasures. I found myself licking my fingers, sticky with loquat juice and laughing like a little kid at the mess I made. Fruit from the tree beats anything you could buy at the market every single time. There is just no comparison.
About a month ago, someone gave me 2 pounds of frozen loquats from their tree. You can imagine my delight because I knew exactly what I was going to do with them. After a few emails back and forth with Aunt Mona, I had instructions and a solid recipe.
(Loquat) Jam Session
I have never made loquat jam and although Aunt Mona shared her recipe, it was more of an outline. I split the batch in 2, just in case I messed up the first one and 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. The second time, I added a tablespoon of pectin and it was perfect. The other glitch I had 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.
- 3 1/2 cups ripe loquats, pits removed
- 1 Tbsp. lemon juice
- 2 1/4 - 2 1/2 cups sugar
- 1/2 - 3/4 cup water, if necessary
- *pectin - if needed
- 1 - 1 1/2 tsp ground cardamom
- 1. Sterilize 7 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 15 - 30 minutes depending on your fruit. Because my fruit was frozen and a little watery, I didn't add extra water and it had to boil a little longer than fresh fruit to evaporate some of the liquid. Stir frequently to avoid scorching on the bottom of pot. You will notice that it gets thicker and a little sticky and syrupy. When it begins to thicken and it's almost done, add the cardamom and stir.
- 6. Remove from heat and ladle into jars, leaving 1/2 inch space. Wipe rims clean with damp paper towel.
- 7. 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.
- 8. Enjoy!
- The fruit I had was frozen. When it thawed, there was quite a bit of liquid so I didn't need to add water to keep the fruit from scorching.
- If you are using fresh loquats and they aren't very juicy, you may need to add a bit of water to keep the jam from burning.
- Also, my bag of fruit was in various stages of ripeness. I had some fruit that were VERY ripe and some that were perfect along with a few that were just underripe. In the best scenario, you'll want perfectly ripe fruit, but sometimes you just have to wing it!
- If your fruit is perfect, you may not need the pectin. Aunt Mona never uses it and her jam sets up perfectly. I was not that fortunate. Because I had a "mixed bag", I needed just a bit to get the consistency I wanted.