May 5, 2009

The Biwa or The Loquat

This is for all the wonderful comments and questions I have received recently, especially about this mysterious fruit.

I wish I could send everyone a real box of biwas....
This box was sent from Nagasaki.  Nagasaki is in the south western part of Japan, on an "island" called Kyushu.  Nagasaki is at the north western tip of Kyushu.... in other words,
fairly warm but lots of ocean breeze and lots of rain.

My hand is not extra huge or extra small so you get an idea of how big the fruits are...
The skin is thin, like an apricot or peach.
The texture of the fruit is similar to that of an apricot but the flavor is closer to (I think) a sweet pear.

The fruit is not sour even when it isn't ripe.  You know you have a "not so ripe" batch of fruit when the the biwa does not have any sweetness...

Lots of Vitamin A.

The biwa leaves are used as tea, it is supposed to be "good for you", but I don't think it is that tasty...

Biwa jello-o (or biwa jelly) is also sold in Nagasaki and is a popular gift in the summer.

I think the fruit got it's name "biwa" because it is shaped like a lute (in Japanese this instrument is also called a biwa).

As I was taking the above pictures just a few minutes ago,I realized how badly my floor needs to be vacuumed. 


I will try to post again later today about today's national holiday... Children's Day!


Delwyn said...

Hi Tulsa,
Japanese fruit always looks so much more vibrant and ready to leap out of the display than ours - that beautiful presentation factor again. And I'm sure it is sweeter. The grapes are like a different fruit and the nashi pear much better than those here...and fresh figs straight off the tree...
I can spend hours in the food floors under the dept. stores in Japan.
Happy Biwa days

Lake Biwa at Kyoto must be biwa shaped do you think???

Butternut Squash said...

I never see loquats around here. I guess it just isn't a poplular fruit in Rural PA. We'll be strawberry picking in June though. Everyone around here seems to have their own little strawberry patch.

Lori ann said...

Oh I loved this, thank you so much! I love learning about new foods(anything actually)! I have to laugh about the floor, that happens to me all the time when I photograph something in my house!
♥ lori

Polly said...

I love fruit and sounds like this one would be one of my favourites!

One day when I make it to Japan (and I hope it'll be next year) I will look for those. Thanks! Polly x

ReNu said...

Mmmm...makes mental note to try Biwa once in lifetime.

I can't post a comment on "a novel adventure" - why is that? I badly wanted to say something about the sneaky villian...boohoo!

ReNu said...

Nope...the 'post a comment' box doesnt even show up!

Delwyn said...

Hi Tulsa,
me again,
you must have been having a busy week, I have been missing you,
thanks for the message for M's day
Happy days

I_am_Tulsa said...

Delwyn! Oh, what a busy week! It was hard not being able to read blogs as well as posting my own thoughts! Thank YOU!

HGL said...

Are the kernels bigger than the fruit flesh, brown stones?

In that case it is medlars / nèfles / Mispeln / nespola ...

I_am_Tulsa said...

HGL, thank you for the comment!

The seeds are big but not always larger than the fruit flesh...the "biwa" IS often called "Japanese medlar" as well but I think it is because it only resembles the medlar fruit.

I am not a botanist so I can't be sure but I read somewhere that the "Biwa" was a loquat brought from overseas a loooong time may have morphed over the years, but I do not think it looks like the medlars that I have seen in the US which were a little more squat in shape than the egg shaped Biwas we see here in Japan.

Have you had a medlar before? Could you tell me what it tastes like???!!!