Monday, May 09, 2005

Fairly productive

I must have picked about six kilograms of mespila/loquats today. They're at the stage where some of them are wonderful to eat raw, but we don't get through many that way. The stones are so large that it feels like a lot of effort for not much fruit, and they discolour so quickly after picking, making them looking rather unappealing.

Apparently there are two varieties of this fruit. The ones I've seen in the supermarket, at fairly high price, are ovoid rather than spherical, a darker orange, and don't seem to discolour so much. I'm told they have smaller stones, too. And they seem to ripen slightly earlier. I've seen some like that in gardens locally, but more like ours with the pale orange globe-shaped fruit.

I gave away a bagful to the friend who gives the boys oral training music lessons on Monday mornings. Then I froze a kilo and a half in sugar syrup, as I did last week. Then I made another kilo into jam, and realised why the jam I made on Thursday came out rather oddly, not setting properly and appearing to have too much fruit. It DID have too much fruit! I had stupidly weighed the loquats after removing the stones, whereas my recipe requires them to be weighed whole. Ah well, it tastes all right so if we eat it fairly soon it won't do any harm.

There's still a bowlful of raw loquats on the kitchen table; only a few have been eaten, and although they looked wonderful after I'd picked them, they now look rather brown and unappetising. I think I'll put them in the fridge overnight, then make some more puree tomorrow. I do hope I can give some more away later in the week; there are still plenty on the tree which haven't yet turned orange.

I did an hour or so's gardening this morning too, before it got too sunny. Weeding is never-ending. The 'lawn' (ha!) hadn't been cut for two weeks and was beginning to look like what it is - a collection of tightly-packed weeds with a few blades of grass here and there. There were masses of dandelions, the small variety that evidently flower quite quickly, so I asked Tim to start mowing this afternoon. I didn't want them to turn into dandelion clocks and then seed even further. He cut about half of it, by which time there was quite a bit of shade so I did some more. There's still another hour or so to do, but we decided to leave that till tomorrow as it's the trickier bit around all the trees.

This evening I did my first major watering of the season, pleased that it's early May rather than early April that I'm starting. I'll try to remember to do it on Saturdays in future, as far as possible. It was dark by about 8pm - and getting chilly too - so I came in, pleased that we seem to be having a much longer spring than usual.


Lora said...

You've gotten me curious about loquats. I've never had one before. They don't have them in my regular grocer's, but I know a place nearby that probably carries them. I'll let you know if I find them.

Sue said...

Well, I'm not sure I would go out of my way to buy them. They're not as juicy as plums or as tasty as apricots, and the stones are so big that a lot of the fruit is wasted. De-stoning sufficient for jam or for the freezer is time-consuming and annoying.

However I love having fruit in the garden, knowing it's totally organic and fresh, so I'm making the most of it. I'll be interested to know what you think if you do try some, but the ones sold in the supermarket here don't look nearly so appealing as the ones fresh from the trees.