Nespolino from the beautiful nespra fruit

At the base steps of our Menorcan villa, stands a tall wide tree that’s loaded at various times of the year with amber fruits. She is a nespra tree, this is the Italian name, the English name I believe is a loquat tree. This tree was loved by my late father Rocco, and I can see why. The fruits taste like pure sugar, yet they have a light sourness to them, a pure joy. While away earlier this year in May, I literally ate as many as I could without making myself ill. The remainder of the fruit I decided to bring back to the UK to make jam and liquor. The day before I departed back to the UK, I picked enough of these small fruits to fill two empty cereal boxes, leaving the ones on the top branches for the Spanish birds to enjoy. I clingfilmed the boxes tightly closed and treated them with the upmost respect while transporting them on a plane, train, and automobile!

 

On our safe return home, within 24 hours I began my preparation with the fruit, albeit slightly bruised. I made 4 small jars of jam with the fruit pulp and began the first stage of making my liquor by using just the seeds that were left behind. This is such a cucina povera way of cooking, I adore the use of everything, with limited or no waste at all. Such a frugal fruit. Each fruit will offer the obvious pulp (used for eating or jam making) and the seeds or stones make the liquor. The number of seeds housed internally within the fruit will vary, from one to possibly six or seven, so I had plenty to be able to make nespolino liquor.

Here is my recipe.

 

Nespolino

300g nespra seeds

1 cinnamon stick

1 lemon

500ml vodka

1 litre water

300ml sugar

 

  • Wash the nespra seeds and place them on a tray. Leave them to air dry for 48 hours.
  • Take a large, sterilised jar and add the seeds.
  • Add the cinnamon stick.
  • Peel the outer skin from the lemon and add it to the seeds.
  • Quarter the lemon and add it to the jar.
  • Top with the vodka and stir.
  • Seal the lid closed and place the jar on a windowsill for a month.
  • During the month, shake the jar.
  • After the month, pass the contents of the jar though a sheet of muslin. Discard the seeds etc and retain the liquid.
  • Boil the water and sugar and make a syrup. Boil the liquid for 8 minutes or so.
  • Allow the syrup to cool.
  • Combine the syrup and base liquid together.
  • Pour the liquor into sterilised bottles and enjoy.

 

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