The loquat, which we call níspero, is a fruit the color of sunset. In April and May it shines in our markets and in the stores that sell fruit. Many people know the loquat as something that comes from China, but it also grows in the fertile fields of our Peru.
Loquat needs a warm climate so that it can produce good fruit. These are normally harvested when they are ripe, although sometimes they are gathered while still green. This is because of the changes in weather that have to take place in order to construct the seasons of fruit.
Once picked it is wrapped in newspaper and covered with blankets to cover the fruit and enable it to mature. This method is not only used for níspero, but for all fruit needing ripening once purchased, such as avocados, bananas, etc.
There are two kinds of loquats. There are drier ones and then the ones we call nísperos de agua, that is water loquats. These latter are recognizable because the fleshy part of the fruit holds more liquid. In the other type, the fleshy section is drier.
This fruit is generally sweet. You only eat the fleshy part and not the seeds that are carried inside. The seeds are a dark mahogany color. If the fruit is ripe it is yellow. If it is just ripening it is orange.
Just like other fruit this one has vitamins and minerals that can be very helpful for your body. It has vitamins A, B, and C, as well as antioxidants, potassium, iron, calcium, and more.
Besides being edible, you can consume them in marmalades and other products derived from jams. You can also prepare sweets and desserts with this small fruit.
The most favorable places to find nísperos are in the main markets, such as Vino Canchón and San Pedro. You can also find them in carts on our streets along with other seasonal fruit.