Monday, 19 July 2010
New Fruit.......in my backyard
There are several new fruit trees on our property here in Sanda Japan, well new to us Canadians anyway. They are the Loquat and the Chinese Bayberry, known respectively as Biwa and Yamamomo to the Japanese . We have been having a lot of fun watching the fruits develop and harvesting them over the past few months. Of course it is quite a challenge to keep them from the birds and beetles but through a plastic Hawk on a string, some CDs tied to trees and some netting we have been able to reap a pretty good harvest of both of these fruits and they are quite exotic.
Both plants come from China, like much of everything here in Japan, and are not really favoured fruits more seen as Garden ornamentals, though their fruits are really nice. The Loquat is a large yellow plumlike fruit that tastes akin to a plum but with a mango texture and vanilla overtones. This one was really hard to defend from bird and we lost about 2/3s of the crop to them.
The Bayberry likes to rain down showers of ripe and unripe fruit all over the ground, though it grows in very large clumps which have been consistently giving us fruit. I scale this large tree twice a week to harvest sacks full of the bumpy round marble sized berries. They are quite easy to damage when ripe and do not ripen further after being harvested so this might account for their lack of presence in the grocery aisles. Both of these strange Chinese exotics are quite interesting trees and it is quite a shame we cannot grow them back home, unless you live in Niagara or on the Georgia strait.
So far we have managed to produce a great jam from the loquat, lots of fresh fruit for eating, bayberry icecubes and the most delicious fruit juice I have ever made (or tasted). Bayberry juice is a pink liquid squeezed directly from the fruits with a cheese cloth. Boiled to cleanse, chilled and served with bayberry icecubes, there is no better summer heat remedy. All in all this has been a fantastic journey here in Japan, now that we have exotic jam and a great fruit juice produced from our yard we can certainly say that Japan's climate affords quite interesting produce as well as scenery.