This post is for all my non-New Zealand friends and followers who may never have had, or may never in the future have, the incomparable joy that is your first feijoa.
There’s lots of information on the web about the origins, uses and growing of the feijoa, but briefly here is a short summary to whet your appetite and then some links where you can go to get more information.
The shrub or small tree (Acca sellowiana) grows to between 3-21ft in height. It is evergreen, with leaves which have a grey underside, and feathery maroon flowers which produce fruit 3-4 months after flowering. The plant generally fruits from its second year of planting in late summer/early autumn.
Although New Zealanders like to think that the feijoa as unique to their home location, in fact, it is a South American plant common in parts of Argentina, Brazil, Columbia, Paraguay and Uruguay. Feijoas are also grown throughout Azerbaijan, Georgia, Iran, Russia, Tasmania, and, of course, New Zealand.
The fruit of a feijoa tree can come in many shapes, sizes, textures and flavours. They can range from round to oval or pear shaped. The fruit is encased in a green leathery skin containing tiny seeds covered in a soft jelly like pulp with a sandy texture.
To eat the fruit, cut down or across the fruit to halve it and scoop out the jellylike flesh and seeds. Although you can eat the skins these are tart and sour. What does it taste like: like nothing you have ever tasted before! They are sweet and aromatic, some say they taste like a mix of guava, pineapple with a hint of mint or banana, but really, that does them no justice.
They can be used in both savoury and sweet dishes:
- for savoury think pickles and chutneys and salads;
- for sweet the list is endless – ice-cream, sorbets, cakes, tarts, crumbles. It can be used as a single fruit or mixed with apple, pear and quince.
Sources and further information:
- Wikipedia, Feijoa
- The Guardian: Falling for feijoas: the fruit New Zealand wants the world to love
- NZ Herald: 10 things to do with feijoas
- Food facts by Mercola: What are feijoas good for?
- Wairere Nursery was the source of the first image