The Japanese Medlar – A Typical Italian Summer Fruit

The large ever green shrub or tree of Japanese medlar, or also called loquat, is a very common fruit tree in Italy. Its yellow fruits look like small peaches, the taste is a mixture between apple and pear. It is a very juicy fruit and best fresh from the plant.

You find them in nearly every garden in Italy, or at least in the south. It is a very popular fruit tree here and the Italians are eating the fruit straight from the tree. I never liked them very much, but maybe because the fruit were offered to me only when very ripe. And I don’t like ripe fruits as they are very often too sweet for me.

The loquat is a plant of the rosaceae family. Japanese medlar is a misleading name as it is not part of the genus Mespilus, though in Germany it is called Mispel (japanische Wollmispel). It Italy you will find it under the name nespolo.

The shrub like tree has dark green leaves, very big, long and hard ones. The fruits grow in clusters. They have a few stones, which are a little soft and I think beautiful. The fruit is refreshing and juicy. The skin a little harder and can be eaten or just left.

The plant comes from Asia, China mainly, but today it is home nearly in all over the world. In Europe maybe since the 19th century. The white flowers appear in late autumn/fall into winter, the fruits only half a year later. Vitamin A, B6, potassium and manganese are the main nutrition values.

Like I mentioned above I didn’t like them very much. But I have the habit trying sporadically what I don’t like very much. Sometimes it’s a dish just prepared differently or maybe another status of ripeness that makes the significant difference to me. And when a friend gave me some picked straight from the tree I thought they have a perfect taste: refreshing, lightly sour and very juicy. I ended up to pick them everywhere I could find them and prepare nespole juice.

Chutneys are also very common, like jam or jelly. They are also used as a natural sweetener. One of the most popular alcoholic drinks in Italy is the Nespolino, made with the seeds of the fruits. In Sicily you can find nespole honey.

I decided for myself that I like the fruit. This year I made several bottles of yellow-orange juice I will enjoy this winter. Next year maybe I will also try some jam and chutneys. About juicing I will write a separate article.

Do you know this fruit? Do you have a shrub/tree in your garden and maybe thought it is only ornamental? Try them, they are really a wonderful surprise!

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Green Sauce on Green Thursday

Tomorrow is Maundy or Holy Thursday. In some countries it is called Green Thursday and traditionally you eat something green. I decided for a green sauce made of béchamel and parsley, like my mother did, when I was a child.

Maundy Thursday has many different names, I know it as Green Thursday or Holy Thursday. It is mainly a Christian church holiday. But in Europe Easter is still a main holiday and celebrated like Christmas. I for myself go a little back to the roots when it still was the celebration of the return of the nature with spring.

I don’t want to explain the religious aspect of Easter, but the traditions in the different countries. Here in Europe in the different countries we not only have different names, also a great diversity of traditions. Sweden for example goes back to before the Christians came and children go from house to house to ask for candies or Easter eggs while they are dressed as witches. In the Czech Republic and in Germany people eat something green like green vegetables or a green sauce. No church bells until Holy Saturday. In some countries all businesses are closed. In European countries I know only of Holy Friday everything is closed.

So, well, I decided to have a green smoothie as a morning starter. The green came from some ‘weeds’ out of the garden like lemon mint, strawberry leaves and bishopsweed (appropriate, isn’t it?). I mixed them with a banana, cinnamon and some Cashew milk. Was delicious!

Later for lunch I prepared the green sauce I remember from my childhood. My mother, I think, once a week prepared a sauce based on a simple béchamel and parsley. With it goes a scalded sausage and boiled potatoes. Easier it is not possible. I boiled the sausage and the potatoes and then prepared a béchamel base with just a little good butter, a bit of gluten-free flour and cashew milk. I added some salt and pepper and then the parsley I previously chopped up.

It is a dish I didn’t make for a very long time. The last time I think when my mother was still alive, and she always wanted only meals she knew all her life. Which was a challenge to me because she never taught me her cooking.

For the sauce you can interchange all of it. Use the flour you normally use, every milk is possible as well. Flour if very nutty can alternate the taste like also the milk. Coconut milk maybe is too strong. Choose a more flavorless one. How much milk? Then is something to decide at the moment. When you whisk in the milk, add only a little bit every time and whisk. You see how thick the sauce is and how thick you want it. Make it just that little bit thinner that when you add all the parsley it has the right consistence.

As for the parsley, you can use any kind of soft herbs. The herbs give the taste! There is the well-known Frankfurter Grüne Sauce (Frankfurt’s green sauce) that has 7 herbs (chives, parsley, sorrel, burnet, cress, chervil and borage) and is made more like a mayonnaise. The season for the green sauce in Frankfurt starts on Maundy Thursday and ends with the first frost in autumn/fall.

Guten Appetit!

Green Sauce
Green Sauce
Print Recipe
Servings Prep Time
2-3 10 minutes
Cook Time
20 minutes
Servings Prep Time
2-3 10 minutes
Cook Time
20 minutes
Green Sauce
Green Sauce
Print Recipe
Servings Prep Time
2-3 10 minutes
Cook Time
20 minutes
Servings Prep Time
2-3 10 minutes
Cook Time
20 minutes
  1. In a pot melt the butter or ghee. Leave the pot on a very little heat. Whisk in the flour. Be careful that no nubs are forming. Add slowly the milk and whisk heartily, it must be always a very smooth, even sauce. As you add the milk and whisk you can see the consistence and add more milk if you want the sauce thinner. Make it a thin cream, that is perfect.
  2. Take away from the heat, add salt and pepper to taste and then stir in the chopped parsley.
Recipe Notes

You can change the flour to any other. I used a gluten-free flour mix, but you can also use rice flour e.g. Use a very fine one in order to get a smooth béchamel.

Also the milk can be chosen by your preference. Don't take a very tasteful one, though, as you want the taste of parsley only.

Of course you don't need to use parsley. You can change to any other herb. Basil would be great as well. Or whatever you have in your garden growing. Mix different herbs together. Chop them always very finely.

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To Weed Or Not to Weed, a Gardener’s Dilemma – Weed Appreciation Day!

Oh, that unwanted plants in the garden! Weed seems to never die and it always comes out where you don’t want it. You just can’t get rid of it. Chickweed, purslane or dandelions – you just don’t want them in the middle of the lawn, the flower bed or under the lilac. The World Weed Appreciation Day wants to remind you that those plants are much more than unwanted garden invaders.

Every year on the 28th of March we celebrate worldwide our weeds which are beneficial to us and the ecosystem. They are so much more than most of us think and can be eaten, have most of the time beautiful flowers, help other plants to grow healthy and gives us a great health boost. They are packed with vitamins and minerals, micro nutrition at its best. Also used in health care and as medicine they are very effective and you should think about the foraging movement.

Wayne Dyer once said: “The only difference between a rose and a weed is judgment”. It is so true. What for me is weed, for you is it a beautiful flower, a powerful medical plant or just so good in your salads.

Did you ever heard about borage seed oil? Clover is not only intriguing to search for the 4th leaf on the same stem, but it’s great as blood cleanser. Wild rose hips are used for herbal teas. Nettles are already used also in industrial cosmetics for shampoo or creams, helps with hair growth, against dandruff and is detoxifying. Dandelions are great to regulate blood pressure, blood sugar, cholesterol and helps to reduce weight. Their are so many others, they are all great for your health and you get them even for free. I started my weed loving journey with ground elder. I just didn’t want it and didn’t know how to get rid of it. Then I started to use it as spinach, cooked and in smoothies. Now I just love it and in addition I reduced it in the garden significantly.

I think weed is also something to think about because it always comes through again, it grows everywhere, no matter how the conditions are. Life goes on! These plants are really strong, a good example for us to be strong, believe in ourselves and always grow even where others maybe think it is impossible.

You should celebrate this day by just learning about the benefits of the weed you have in the garden and maybe start to eat them in salads, cook them like spinach or use the right one for an insect’s bite. Weed doesn’t exist, it is you to decide what plant you don’t want in your garden and call it then weed. It’s our last source for healthy food, guaranteed without GMO and still with all the vitamins and minerals as millions of years.

Every country has its own weed perception, what are the ones in your country? Go in your garden today, look for the most undesired plant you think is really nuisance. Look up the name of it and the benefits. Start to use it! Let’s celebrate our strong plants!

For further information:
Just a few Plant Identification apps for your Smart-phone:
Flora Incognita

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World Storytelling Day 2021

The World Storytelling Day around the 20th of March, the equinox, is a celebration for the oral storytelling. There are events and celebrations around the world. A way to listen and tell stories, fiction, true, heard or invented in the moment.

Once, before there were books, stories, news, events and facts were told. Do you know about bards? They have gone from one place to another telling and singing events, political conflicts or just about other places they have seen. A kind of newspaper of the past. Storytelling is an art, not everyone knows how to tell a story. There is so much into it: the voice, the personality of the storyteller, the way to tell a story, to create suspense, the art to transmit emotions and feelings through a story.

Every year there is a theme for the celebration of the World Storytelling Day, this year is: ‘new beginnings’. Appropriate with the hope of an after-Corona-life.

As I can’t sit in front of anyone and tell stories, here is my contribution for the day, a true story.


He barely stood up. He was so thin that the wind was almost blowing through his ribs, if it weren’t for a layer of skin and thin, shaggy fur over it. His only eye was watering, green slime ran down his nose, he was breathing heavily, whistling. He didn’t know when he’d last had something to eat, everything hurt, he barely had any strength left. If it weren’t for the occasional mouse his girlfriend brought him, he would have crossed the Rainbow Bridge a long time ago. But she kept him alive.

The garden gate opened and a car drove into the garden. A woman got out of the car. She greeted the man, living here, talked to him, began to get things out of the car.
As she did so, she looked down at the one-eyed cat, bent down and stroked his back. She quickly pulled her hand away. Scared, disgusted? The conversation was briefly about him, about Gregor.

He followed her, but remained seated on the stairs. Going up cost him incredible strength. He waited a long while, the woman walked past him, up and down, usually packed with lots of things. And then suddenly came with what he longed for the most: a pot of food! It was like a miracle after such a long time, finally something between his teeth again. The smacking sound that reached his brain, the taste of freshness, the smell, it couldn’t be described. He was even more exhausted after the delicious meal than before. Later, much later, the bowl was filled again and he was able to fill his stomach another time.

That night he got up and climbed the stairs. He curled up on the mat in front of the door and waited for the morning.

The day began with sunshine and the chirping of birds. Soon after sunrise Gregor heard noises behind the door. The woman was awake and would definitely come out soon and maybe he would get something to eat again. And actually later the door opened and something delicious was put down for him. There was also a pot of fresh, clean water.

Over the next few days he was given new food again and again, he took everything he could get, nearly inhaling the food. Who knows how long it would last. Like everyone else, she would certainly leave after a short time and he would be without food again.

But things turned out differently. The woman stayed, and there was something to eat several times a day, every day. She built him his own little hut, with layers of fresh hay and soft blankets inside, dry and warm for the coming winter. Every day there was fresh food, sometimes fish, sometimes chicken, enriched with vitamins. He was washed several times and freed from ticks and lice. His fur grew thick and shiny, his ribs became invisible, he had strength again to run up and down the stairs quickly. Jumping was no longer a problem. His snot nose never went away completely, and his croaking voice never got better either. But he was happy, satisfied and above all he finally felt secure.

Unfortunately, he was never allowed into the apartment because there was another cat there, female. She didn’t want him, said it clearly. But no matter: his before girlfriend was still there, slept with him at night in his hut and cuddled with him.

On that day in late summer it was a new beginning in the life of Gregor, the pirate. Now he curled up contentedly in the large bowl in the sun, dreaming of heroic deeds that he maybe accomplished once, satisfied of a cared life.

For further information:
World Storytelling Day Facebook Group

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WWD – World Wildlife Day 2021

On the 3rd of March every year is the World Wildlife Day. It is an adoption of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) and is meant to raise awareness for the fragility of both, flora and fauna. The proposal came from Thailand in 2013 and since 2015 it is celebrated with events around the globe. Every year there is a main theme. In 2021 it is: Forests and Livelihoods, sustaining people and planet.

As this year any public celebration and events are forbidden, it is an entirely virtual event. There will be a lot of discussions, movies and more online from the headquarters in New York but any other member country will held their own ones. Here you can find the events of your country, the website to it and the time when it will be held.

On their website they ask everyone of us to do one thing to support forest communities and conserve forest wildlife.

With the theme there comes into my mind all the horror that is happening to the indigenous people in South America loosing their forests homes, or the Orang-Utan families in Borneo loosing their homeland and therefor dying. There is much more and it’s incredible when you read there are plastic islands in the oceans as big as Europe all together.

I try to do in my own little world most of the things in an environment-friendly way. For the health of this planet, but also for my own health. This day I will plant a tree (one of many others). What will you do to help and/or support forest communities or the forest and its life within?

For further information:
The official website of the World Wildlife Day

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