Exotic and enchanted, Bermuda has a lot of flavour to offer its visitors. And early spring in the island brings a special treat as lush trees fully bloom with fragrant white flowers that transform into small, golden fruits that are a staple in every Bermudian household: the luscious loquat. Bermudians swear there is magic in the little peachy fruit with thick skin, sweet-tart flesh and a smooth round stone. Originally from Asia, the fruit was brought to the island in 1850 by Governor William Reid. The fruit is rich in calcium, phosphorous, iron and vitamins A and C; and the leaves of its tree are used to make medicinal teas. Loquat hunting is one of Bermuda’s favourite pasttimes, as the trees can be found all over the island in parks, backyards, along roads and in gardens. Most Bermudians have at least one loquat tree in their yard. Because the fruit ripens quickly, Bermudians eat it straight off the loaded branches that hang over the streets. They are yellow to dark orange in colour and at the peak of sweetness when ripe. Bermudians also appreciate this fruit’s versatility. It can be used to make a potent liqueur with gin, vodka or rum as its base; stew; chutney; jam; soufflé; and pie filling. It can even be consumed as a wine. Bermudians also use the leaves to decorate their homes. In fact, national love of the fruit is such that it can be found gracing many of the local artists’ collections.
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