The loquat (Eriobotrya japonica) is a species of flowering plant in the family Rosaceae, native to southern China south to northern Thailand. It has been known by many names under different cultural climates, but should not be confused with other plants that are also known as loquat. Within the genus Eriobotrya, it belongs to the subgenus Eriobotrya. It is the only member of this subgenus that is grown for agricultural production. While the species has many common names in English (loquat, Japanese medlar or loquat tree) and some use loquat as the common name, most references prefer to call it by the scientific name "Eriobotrya japonica."
If unripe, the whole fruit has a crunchy texture and mildly bitter flavor. As it ripens, the flesh softens until completely ripe when it is sweet and full of juice. The peel is somewhat tough and inedible even when very ripe; it can be eaten by wrapping pieces of roasted loquat in corn husks or tortillas.
The loquat tree is large, evergreen, and fast-growing, capable of reaching 6–10 meters (19–33 ft) in height. The leaves are alternately arranged, simple ovate-lanceolate, 4–9 centimeters (1.6–3.5 in) long and 2–4 centimeters (0.79–1.57 in) broad, with an entire or weakly dentate margin; they are reddish-green when young, maturing dark green and glossy; the petiole is 0.5–3 centimeters (0.20–1.18 in).
The flowers are produced from the leaf axils, singly or in clusters of up to three on the shoots of the previous year's growth; they are white, 2 centimeters (0.79 in) diameter, with six petals and six stamens; flowering is in spring.
The fruit is a large berry containing numerous seeds; it is yellow, orange, or red-streaked and ripens in late spring and early summer, depending on the cultivar. The skin turns yellow as it matures; the flesh, yellow to deep pink or purple, has a sweetly tart flavor that is usually very pronounced in commercially produced fruit with little acid.
The fruit is most often eaten out-of-hand or squeezed for its juice. It can be stored in the refrigerator for about two weeks when ripe. The fruit can also be used in cooking, baking, making jam and chutney, or dried as a raisin. Loquat leaf tea has been commonly consumed in China, Korea, Japan, Taiwan and Vietnam for centuries.
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Modern Loquat fruit production
According to the latest statistics, Loquat fruits are grown in more than 20 countries around the world. The top Loquat producing countries are China, Japan, Korea, Brazil and Taiwan. Loquats are a popular fruit in many parts of Asia and are often used in traditional medicine.
Loquats are rich in vitamins and minerals, and are a good source of dietary fiber. They contain vitamins A, C, E and K, as well as potassium, calcium and iron. Loquats are also a good source of antioxidants.
Loquat fruits are believed to have originated in China, and they have been cultivated there for over 2,000 years. They were introduced to Japan and Korea around 300 years ago, and from there they spread to other parts of Asia, Europe, and North America. Today, loquat trees are grown in many countries around the world, and the fruit is enjoyed by people of all ages.
Loquat fruits are a good source of vitamins and minerals, and they have many health benefits. They are low in calories and fat, and they contain no cholesterol. Loquat fruits are also a good source of dietary fiber, which can help to regulate digestion and keep you feeling full longer. The vitamins and minerals in loquat fruits can help to boost your immune system, and they are also thought to have anti-inflammatory properties.
Loquat fruits are generally available from late winter through early spring. They can be found fresh at farmers markets or in the produce section of most supermarkets. Loquat fruits can also be purchased dried, canned, or frozen. When selecting loquat fruits, look for those that are bright in color and free from blemishes. Avoid fruits that are bruised or have soft spots.
Loquat fruits can be enjoyed fresh, or they can be used in a variety of recipes. They make a great addition to salads, and they can also be used in baked goods or as a topping for ice cream or yogurt. Dried loquat fruits make a delicious snack, and they can also be added to soups or stews. Canned or frozen loquat fruits are a good option for those who do not have access to fresh fruit.
Loquat fruits are a healthy and delicious way to enjoy the flavors of spring. When selecting and storing loquat fruits, be sure to choose those that are ripe and free from blemishes. With their bright colors and sweet flavor, loquat fruits are a welcome addition to any springtime meal!
Global loquat production
Loquats are a popular fruit in many parts of the world, and their production is growing steadily. In 2016, global production of loquats was estimated at 1.8 million metric tons, up from 1.6 million metric tons in 2015. The majority of loquat production takes place in China, which accounts for around 80% of the world's total. Other major producers include Japan, India, Pakistan, and Brazil.
Loquats are versatile fruit that can be used in a variety of ways. They can be eaten fresh, cooked, or processed into jams, jellies, and other preserves. Loquats are also a popular ingredient in many Asian cuisines.
The demand for loquats is growing in both developed and developing countries. This is due to the fruit's unique taste and nutritional value. Loquats are a good source of vitamins A and C, as well as dietary fiber. They also contain a variety of antioxidants, which have been linked to numerous health benefits.
With the global demand for loquats on the rise, production is expected to continue to grow in the coming years. This will provide opportunities for farmers and businesses involved in the loquat industry.