What's that? There, on that tree.

Those are words I hear often from friends and strangers as they stroll around the country lanes of Spain. The answer can be almost anything. So different can the fruit be to anything visitors to the country are accustomed to.

One that always has people baffled is one of my all time favourites. The Nispero.

The Medlar or Nispero fruit is often a yellow coloured fruit growing on a tree that has vibrant and fragrant white flowers. While the skin can be eaten the best bit is inside, the flesh. The fruit contains large seeds that are toxic and must not be eaten. Lots of people make chutney, jelly and jam using the Nispero.

The Nispero has fans all over the world, often people who holiday regularly in Spain.

People like Lorraine Rimmer, an illustrator, who says: "There is nothing more wonderful than to walk into the garden and be able to eat fruit straight from the tree.
"This was the case on my last holiday in Spain. This delightful, underrated little gem the Nispero, known in English as 'the Loquat', is a truly versatile fruit. It is eaten as a fresh fruit and goes well with other fruits in fruit salads. They are sweetest when soft and orange.
"In Spain, the fruit is commonly used to make jam, jelly and chutney,or can be poached in light syrup.  Firm, slightly immature fruits are best for making pies or tarts. The fruit can also be used for wine."

Meanwhile, Nevenka writes the blog http://fincafood.com/about/ from her farm in a hot corner of Spain. She is a big fan of the Nispero.

Nevenka writes: "There are two varieties in my garden, Algerie an early variety that has very sweet yellow fruit which are eaten fresh – these have already all been consumed before the later variety is ready. The fruit on the later variety, Tanaka, is bigger and a bright orange colour and more tart, so is better cooked.

"Also all the fruit is ready at once and does not keep longer than a day or two so preserving most of it of it is essential. It can be made into a jam, although I think the delicate flavour of the fruit gets lost in the amount of sugar need to preserve it.

"Most of my Nisperos get the following treatment to keep them. They are cooked, peeled and stoned and then frozen in portions with their juice. They can then be defrosted as needed to use  in desserts and sauces or just eaten as they are. They are full of vitamins but little sugar so one can feel free to eat a lot of them. One of my favourite recipes in the summer is Nispero Gazpacho."

But, as I am often asked, how do you treat the Nispero? Once you have decided to pick them, then what?

Nevenka says: "When you pick the fruit, cut the stems rather than break off the fruit as any wound to the fruit will discolour quite quickly. Wash the fruit.

"Bring a large pan of water to the boil and then gently put in the Nispero a few at a time. If you have a lot of Nipero cook them in batches so that they come back to the boil fairly rapidly. Bring back to the boil and simmer for five minutes to cook them through to their cores. If they are very large cook an extra minute to be on the safe side.

"Take the fruit out of the water and put into plenty of cold water to cool them down rapidly and stop them continuing to cook. When cool enough, peel them, cut in halves and remove the stems, stones and the inner membrane. They are then ready to use or freeze."