The nispero, or Japanese loquat in English is an Asian fruit that has been cultivated for thousands of years. Although introduced to Spain about two thousand year ago by sailors arriving in ports of the Valencia region, it wasn't until the 19th century that the loquat began to be cultivated in Spain and elsewhere around the Mediterranean. The loquat tree thrives wherever citrus trees do, making the warm coastal areas of the Mediterranean a perfect fit.
There are many varieties of loquat, each with a slightly different appearance. Generally, the loquat is pear-shaped, with smooth dark orange to orange-yellow skin. It has soft, creamy yellow flesh with a sweet and sour taste and 2-4 large seeds in the center.
The two most common varieties in Spain are the Argelino (Algar) and the Tanaka. Loquats are in season during the months of April, May and June, and are generally enjoyed raw. Because it contains lots of pectin, it can easily be made into jam or preserves.
The Consumer Eroski website was a principal source of information contained in this article.