Since mid of April, I found lots of small round shaped fruits with pale orangish-yellow skin in the groceries stores. They looked like apricot or plum, but no, they‘re not apricot either plum. I was curious and decided to buy some to taste.
It’s soft, succulent, sweet with little bit acidity, like mango but not as sweet as mango, like pear but softer than pear. I’ve tried some of them, the more orange it looks, the sweeter it taste.
I knew the name of this fruit from the staff of groceries store I often visit. She said in Cyprus they call it Mespila. Mespila is ripe on spring (April – May) and is usually eaten fresh and for the best taste is when it is ripe on the tree and is eaten straight. This fruit is quite perishable so usually after 2-3 days in the shops Mespila are not so appealing and because skin is getting brown.
Not satisfied with the info from the lady in the groceries shop, I googling to find out more about Mespila. According to some article that I found about Mespila, including from Wikipedia, Mespila is also known as Loquat or Japanese Medlar. Actually this plant is a species of flowering plant but in addition to being cultivated as ornamental plant it is also cultivated for its fruit. No wonder I saw some of Mespila’s trees in the home yard.
The fruit is round oval shape (or pear shaped) with smooth orangish-yellow skin, can be peeled off manually when it’s ripe, has some small brow pint inside and it has a taste that hard to describe, succulent, tangy and sweet, mixed flavor among pear, peach, mango and citrus. Usually eaten fresh, mix in salad, used for compote and Jam, even the seeds can be processed to make liqueur. But I am afraid I cannot share any recipes using Mespila as I just found it and haven’t try any of recipe using Mespila.
When I searched more about this fruit, I found that Japan is a leading producer of Mespila, followed by China and Mediteranian region such as Cyprus, Greece, etc. I think that’s why Mespila is also called as Japanese Medlar.
So if in Cyprus we called it Mespila, in Greece they called it Mousmola and Despoles in Crete. What do you called this fruit in your place/area?
History of Greek food