Loquat Jam

by Rachel on April 20, 2010

Loquats just off of the tree.

Not too many families have a loquat story, but mine does.  My father and his wife loved their loquat tree.  It was a prolific provider.  Year in and year out it produced beautiful fruit.  We made jam every summer.  My step-mom is an amazing maker of tarts and her loquat jam served as the special glaze that set her desserts apart.  In 2008 a massive wildfire roared through their Santa Barbara canyon.  It ravaged their property, burning a secondary structure that had been my family’s weekend house, leaving their modest home standing but destroying every tree, and living thing that had surrounded them.  My father had planted most of the trees as seedlings after the Coyote Fire, which burned our home to the ground in 1975.  My father and step-mom lost so many things in the 2008 fire, it is difficult to list them all, but for some reason that loquat tree was one of the hardest losses to bear.  Friends came together and helped them replant, including a friend of ours who gave them a new loquat tree.  This spring we had access to a different loquat tree (it’s a long story that I’ll get to in time).  It was our first foray back into our annual loquat jam making.  We made three batches yesterday.  It felt really good to be back as a family making jam!

Loquats are a problematic fruit. You need to pick them and then make them into jam immediately. They have absolutely no shelf life off of the tree. They will literally rot overnight, even in the refrigerator. We pick them, bring them inside, pit and skin them and process them into jam all at once.  Once made into jam they have a lovely color and flavor a bit like an apricot, but slightly more exotic. They also make an excellent glaze for tarts.  If you have a loquat tree and have never made the fruit into jam, I highly recommend trying it at least once.  It’s absolutely delicious, and the color of the jam is spectacular.

A bit like an apricot, loquats have brown pits and skin you can eat.

  • 6 cups loquats, pitted and skinned
  • 7 cups sugar
  • ¼ cup lemon juice
  • 1 ½ tablespoons butter
  • 1 package Sure Jell

Sterilize your jars and lids. We sterilize ours by running them through the dishwasher. Do not remove them until you are ready to fill them. The lids and rims should be boiled on the stovetop and not touched until ready for use. Any other implements (spoons, funnels) should also be dropped in boiling water before they come in contact with the fruit.

Loquats: prepped and ready.

As soon as you cut the fruit, place it in a large bowl with the lemon juice so that the fruit does not discolor. Once you have all of the fruit prepared, toss the fruit with the pectin and put it in a large pot and bring to a boil. Once it is at a rolling boil take it off of the heat and stir in the sugar.

Loquats: On the stove with sugar and Sure Jell.

Put it back on the heat and bring back to a boil. Let it boil for 1 minute. Add the butter. Stir to blend.  Skim the top of any bubbles/scum (keep the bubbles for home use). Ladle the jam into already sterilized jars. Don’t ladle past the rim, stop right below the beginning of the lip of the jar. Try not to get jam on the rim. If you do, use a clean cloth and wipe the rim before you put on the lid.

Screw on the tops and the lids tightly.  Invert immediately.  Leave inverted for about 1 hour and then flip over.  Let the jam cool before you move the jars. The jars should ping as they cool. If they do not ping the jar has not sealed. Refrigerate this jam and use in the near term.

{ 92 comments… read them below or add one }

Rachel April 8, 2012 at 8:21 pm

The trees up here are loaded too – but not ripe just yet.

Good luck with the jamming!

Rachel

Char April 28, 2012 at 2:29 pm

I have the rare opportunity, finally, of experiencing loquats for the first time in my life. I live in the extreme southern portion of Arizona and have three loquat trees that are full of fruit for the first time in three years since I bought my home.

I’ve been reading and researching the fruit but am not certain when it is ripe and ready for picking. Don’t want to pick it before it is ready and am hoping you can educate me so I pick it at its’ prime to make your jam recipe.

Thanks

Rachel April 29, 2012 at 8:01 am

Char:
Pick one and taste it. They should peel easily and be quite sweet. They should also be VERY orange in color, not pale, or green.
GOOD LUCK!!
Rachel

KIm B April 29, 2012 at 2:19 pm

We rent a house that has 4 trees that are overflowing with loquats, so I am going to try my hand at making this jam. When you say, “use in the near term” – how long are we talking? Must they all be stored in the fridge? Do you know of a recipe that would allow room temp storage? Thanks!

Rachel April 29, 2012 at 2:24 pm

Kim:
There are two ways to pick loquats. You can pull the fruit off of the tree (this has always been my method) or you can cut large clumps of them off of the tree leaving the fruit attached to the branch. I am told that the fruit has a much longer shelf life if it is still attached to the branch. Fruit pulled off of the branch and placed in a box, stored in a cool place in your house will last a full day before it starts to really rot. It will brown almost immediately, which will change the color of your jam. I like the brighter color – so I pick the fruit, bring it in the house and make it into jam. I don’t store it more than a couple of hours, and I don’t keep it in the fridge. You could do a test and cut a larger bunch off of the tree and leave them on your counter and see how long they last. I have not tried that – though I plan to this season once our fruit is ripe. My fruit isn’t quite ripe yet – but I’ll test out the branch storage method as soon as it is so that I can add that information to this post.
Best,
Rachel

Phil Krahn May 9, 2012 at 1:51 pm

Hi Rachel,
I was googleing loquats and ran across your site. I have a tree at peak ripeness and will try the preserve recipe. On another note I noticed you are in the Santa Barbara area and your family name is Kaganoff. Is your dad’s name Shel by any chance? Shel Kaganoff was my ceramics teacher at UCSB back in the 70′s. Just wondering.
Cheers!
Phil Krahn

Rachel May 9, 2012 at 1:54 pm

Phil:

Yes, my father is Shel Kaganoff. If you take a look through my blog you’ll see he’s referenced a lot, and many of the recipes are his. In fact, the loquat jam recipe is the work of his wife. He’s busy in the studio these days making pots!

Good luck with the jam!
Rachel Kaganoff Stern

lela May 14, 2012 at 2:00 pm

My understanding is that it’s not safe to can things with butter in them on the stovetop. Thought you might want to check with your extension service about the botulism risk of your recipe.
Also, oddly, I have a bowl full of loquats over two weeks off the tree that are still fine, I wonder if it’s a variety thing? They are from a seedling tree so are not as juicy as a named variety. I’m just getting ready to make jam with them, thanks for sharing your recipe.

Rachel May 14, 2012 at 3:42 pm

Dear Lela:
I will ask my father about the butter issue. As a professional chef he who ran a restaurant kitchen, he had to go to classes on food safety. Let me see what he says. He’s been making this jam for years, as have I and we’ve never had an issue. Honestly, you could leave it out. The butter helps to reduce the amount of foam that forms on the top of the jam. Without the butter you’ll need to spend a bit more time skimming the foam. Other than that the recipe should work exactly the same as with the butter.
Rachel

Daniel Diaz May 14, 2012 at 7:49 pm

Thanks for the recipe! We used it last year and will use it again tonight, and the best part is that is always comes out perfect. :)

Rachel May 14, 2012 at 8:06 pm

Daniel:
That is great to hear. Now, where is my jar?
Rachel

Diana June 20, 2012 at 9:58 pm

Hi Rachel,
How did you cut up your loquats so perfectly? I had a tough time with the seed and the tough leathery stuff surrounding it!

Thanks!
Diana

Rachel June 21, 2012 at 10:47 am

Diana:
It really doesn’t matter how you cut up the loquats since they are going to cook down in the jam anyway. Are yours large or small loquats? The larger ones are MUCH easier to manage. Smaller ones are harder to peel and harder to cut up. Remember the jam will taste great no matter what the fruit looks like!!
Best,
Rachel

Marge October 23, 2012 at 10:41 pm

I make and sell Jams to raise funds for our local lawnBowls club what I would like to know is approx what is the shelf life of Loquat jam which I have to put a best use by date on Jams I sell . As I`m Engish I`v had no experience with this fruit and didnt even know what they were when I was given some at the club today

Rachel October 24, 2012 at 6:21 am

Marge:
The jam will last a year, which is what I say about any jam. It’s no different than strawberry, or apricot, or marmalade.
Try some – it’s excellent!
Rachel

Shep Davis November 11, 2012 at 1:37 pm

Personally I prefer to go with the jelly rather than the preserves. With the jelly, you can cut out the step of peeling, just rinse, deseed, place in water just enough to less than cover. I sprinkle fresh fruit to keep the color light, boil for twenty minutes, remove from heat cover and cover and let cool enough to squeese through cheese cloth. Let the juice settle and put into a three or four quart pot and follow the plum jelly resipe in the Sure Jell Package. The same process for canning Jam will work for the jelly.

If, per chance it doesn’t jell, follow the instructions in the Sure Jell Package.

I do not boil the rims, just make sure they are clean and coat the inside with a very light coat of Petrolium Jelly or the like. This will help in the removal of the lid when ready to use and to help to save the ring for next year’s canning (I’m cheep).

rob australia November 13, 2012 at 7:00 am

Is there any trick to groing the loquat tree. AS IHAV JUST BEEN given several seedlings that was dug up from under a big loquat tree info will help regards rob from west auzzy

Rachel November 13, 2012 at 1:48 pm

Hi Rob:
I honestly don’t know a thing about getting a loquat tree to grow – other than to water and fertilize it!
GOOD LUCK,
Rachel

Daniel S.Australia December 17, 2012 at 4:04 pm

Rob, i live in South Australia and loquats grow easily!
Just plant it and after a year or two neglect it as much as possible and itll grow like mad. Just harvested mine today, i have never watered the tree or fertilized and i have huge juicy loquats about 20 kilos of them! going to make jam today :)

Abigail Lawrence December 26, 2012 at 3:00 am

Hi Rachel,
I was just looking at some recipes and found my way onto your site, where I realized you were the Rachel Kaganoff I used to baby sit for when I was a Ceramics student at UCSB (I went by my first name, Martha, and my maiden name, Smith) in those days (the Sixties) . I recall coming to babysit for you and your sister and usually being invited to come first for really delicious dinners created by your mother and father. With that remembrance of the wonderful food in your house, I really look forward to trying some of your recipes!

Abigail Lawrence (nee Martha Smith)

Rachel December 26, 2012 at 5:14 am

Abigail:

I do remember you vividly. I’ve sent you an email which I hope you’ve received. If not, I’ll post a longer message here.

So delighted to have heard from you.
Rachel Kaganoff Stern

Rachel December 27, 2012 at 6:05 am

Abigail:

Did you get my email? My father was so thrilled to hear that you’d written. I hope you find the email in your inbox.
Rachel

marguerite March 17, 2013 at 8:12 pm

Hi Rachel, Its sunday night and I am making loquat jam, but i cook my fruit until it is soft and then puree it in my vita master and then make my jam. It is as smooth as jelly, but with more substance. wonderful. I had 12 qts of fruit today and ran out of sugar so i will put it into the fridge and do the jam tomorrow.It keeps real well once it has been cooked. So all of you who haven’ t had the time to do the jam , don’t waste the fruit cook it and do the jam later. Happy Jamming!

Charlene March 24, 2013 at 1:21 pm

Can I substitute Splenda for the sugar, because my husband is diabetic???

chris March 28, 2013 at 7:08 pm

Oops! First time to try jelly w/loquats and I simmered the fruit without taking the pits out! Do I need to throw the entire batch out or can I put it thru a food mill, then a sieve? Please answer ASAP. Thanks in advance for your help! cvh

chris March 28, 2013 at 7:17 pm

Me again. We enjoy a strawberry-fig preserves here in Southeast Texas, made with no strawberries, but strawberry flavored jello instead. Do you think it would be possible to make such a strawberry-loquat jelly or jam? Thanks again. cvh

Rachel March 28, 2013 at 11:58 pm

You can try putting it through a sieve – but I have NO idea whether that will work. It’s worth a try though, right?
Rachel

Rachel March 28, 2013 at 11:59 pm

Sure – try it. I’m all for experimentation!
Enjoy.
Rachel

Rachel March 29, 2013 at 12:00 am

Sugar is one of the primary reasons that the jam sets. I don’t believe it will set with Splenda (even with the addition of pectin). You’ll likely end up with something more like syrup.
Rachel

chris March 29, 2013 at 7:00 am

Hi! I wrote on March 28 about accidentally cooking the fruit BEFORE taking out the seeds. I understand they can be toxic, so my question is, am I endangering my family if I jell the fruit after cooking it WITH the seeds in it, or do you think it will be okay? Thanks. (love your blog . . . so helpful!) cvh

Robilyn April 12, 2013 at 5:23 am

I am asking the same questions as Chris above. Can I cook the fruit without removing the seeds and still be safe to use the liquid for jelly?

Rachel April 12, 2013 at 5:46 am

I have absolutely no idea. I would assume that the answer is NO, it is not safe and you must remove the seeds first – since I too have heard that the seeds are toxic.
Best,
Rachel

Donna April 16, 2013 at 7:05 am

Hello. I notice your recipe for jam doesn’t call for any water. Is the lemon juice the only “liquid” you are adding to the fruit before you begin boiling it?
Thanks so much!

Rachel April 16, 2013 at 7:53 am

Donna:
I don’t add any water. The loquats have a lot of liquid in them. They don’t need any additional liquid besides the lemon juice.
Best,
Rachel Stern

Dick May 2, 2013 at 1:56 pm

I remember the delicious loquate jam my mother used to make in Bermuda.
We picked them and she did the jam. Odd thing is we would go from tree to tree for there was always one sweeter than the other.
Recently in the Algarve in Portugal and the trees were loaded and no one picked them. Asked about jam and they looked at my like I was nuts. Loquats are known as nespera in Portugal, the locals said people eat them if they have heart problems for it is very medicinal (?).
I just saw them in Longos (Brampto, ON) and thought I would buy a load and make jam.. They were $6.99 a pound so having second thoughts.

Erin May 4, 2013 at 3:54 pm

How much does this recipe make? I am going to make this jam next week and I plan on using 8 oz. jelly jars. I’d like to know how many jars I will need to sterilize.

James Roman May 7, 2013 at 10:02 pm

Thanks for this spectacular recipe, and for the nicely illustrated steps above.

Erin: this recipe yields exactly six 8-oz jars.

Evidently, during the 1920s when Los Angeles was undergoing a building boom, the city gave away Loquat trees to new home owners in an attempt to increase shade and cool our climate with these large leafy plants. The massive tree in my backyard is probably over 80 years old, and overwhelmingly abundant with fruit! So far this month, I’ve generated six jars of Loquat Jelly and now six jars of Loquat Jam.

No contest! This jam recipe is far superior (in flavor) to the jelly that I’ve made for years. It also requires less time to cook, and requires fewer loquats. I’m buying more jars to make even more jam (and I’m gonna try Chutney too) that I’m sure to give away as presents all year long. The neighborhood opossums can eat whatever loquats I can’t reach (and that’s a lot!).

Tips:
➔Don’t add any water; Loquats are plenty juicy.
➔I skipped the butter too; it doesn’t compromise the recipe’s success, though you’ll skim away about a half-jar of foam.
➔I’ve read that the seeds are toxic, so don’t eat them, but that doesn’t mean you can’t cook them. By including a few seeds in the boiling fruit, you’ll add an appealing rosy color. I inserted 15 seeds. Just before ladling the final product into the jars, I made certain to extract all 15 seeds. (They float.) The color is so gorgeous, I’m sure I’ll do it again.

Melissa May 8, 2013 at 11:15 pm

I love making jams and love trying different twists on classic jam recipes . This jam turned out perfect and was one of the easiest recipes. I will defiantly make this again! Got any strawberry recipes?? I was thinking about trying strawberry ginger jam next.

Erin May 9, 2013 at 12:53 am

Thanks for all the great information James. I have to say I was a bit concerned about the amount of sugar being greater than the amount of fruit in this recipe, but if you say it is better than what you’ve been making for years then that’s good enough for me. I am going over to my friend’s house tomorrow to pick the fruit from his tree, he and his wife never do anything with it, and then I’ll be a loquat jam-making fool!

Chau May 12, 2013 at 4:21 pm

Thank you for the recipe. We’ve had the tree for few years but never done anything to the fruits except eating them fresh. My husband got tired of hauling the rotten fruits to the dump and threaten to cut the tree down. Here come the rescue: Your jam recipe! I haven’t canned anything in my life, but wanted to try anyway. I purchased “no sugar added” Sure Jell and cut down the sugar to 3 cups. Seven 8-oz jars of loquat jam are now cooling on my counter and look like they don’t have any problem with setting. I have to admit peeling the fruits was time consuming and messy, but I believe I have found a way to save the loquat tree. Thanks again.

Rachel May 13, 2013 at 9:12 am

Chau:
“Save the Loquat Tree” sounds like a perfect T-shirt slogan. You can get one made and give it to your husband along with the jam!!

Cheers,
Rachel

James Roman May 23, 2013 at 12:47 pm

It’s been a bumper crop this season! I harvested over 50 lbs of fruit, then made Loquat Jam, Loquat Jelly, Loquat Chutney and Loquat Cobbler. I’ve got loquats frozen in pectin in my freezer too; there’s a surprise planned for Thanksgiving!

Here’s a helpful measurement when picking fresh loquats:
➔ 1 lb of fresh loquats = 1 cup of peeled and pitted loquats

Therefore, this jam recipe requires about six pounds of fresh fruit.

And one last hint to anyone picking loquats for the first time:
➔ Be selective. Only pluck the largest fruit. The small loquats are a pain to peel and yield very little pulp. And avoid sunburned loquats, because they’re hard to peel too.

Good luck, everybody! Will you be climbing the loquat tree next year?

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