The feijoa fruit is like an aromatic pineapple and is commonly referred to as pineapple guava. In this article, we’ll explore how to eat feijoa with recipe ideas to try.
What is a Feijoa?
Feijoas are a smallish egg-sized green fruit that grows on the evergreen tree Feijoa sellowiana. The trees can grow between 10-16 feet (3-5 meters) depending on the variety and produce pink flowers which are edible. The flowers taste like sherbet!
This little tree originates from Brazil but is mostly grown in New Zealand. Other countries that are also known to grown feijoas include Columbia, Chile, Australia, and some parts of Europe.
The trees are easy to grow yourself if you are in a cool-moderate climate where temperatures stay above 19°F (-7°C). In the US most Feijoas are grown commercially in California.
For growing your own feijoa tree, see our article: Growing Feijoa Pineapple Guava Trees and Eating Feijoa Fruit.
There are several different feijoa varieties, and these produce subtle differences in the tree and the fruit. For example, the Coolidge variety is the most commonly grown in California and is known to be a milder taste. The Apollo variety is a large, aromatic fruit known to be of excellent quality.
Feijoa fruit are in season through fall and early winter, so from October to December you should be able to get your hands on fresh fruit in abundance
The feijoa tree will bear fruit from about 2-6 years of age and with light pruning after harvest, the tree will continue to give you more feijoas than you will know what to do with!
Feijoas have light green skin, look like an egg in shape, and are 2-3 inches in length. Cutting into a feijoa you see something that resembles a cucumber. The flesh is a white color and edible, with soft seeds surround the core of the fruit.
And feijoas are great for you. They’re packed full of fiber, vitamins, and minerals. In fact, they are one of the richest sources of vitamin C, so they are great for boosting the immune system.
What Does a Feijoa Taste like?
Feijoas taste most like guava, pineapple, and strawberry combined. Some people also detect quince, mint, or pear flavors, and a gritty pear-like texture. It may give you a ‘tropical punch’ feeling because of the mix of fruity flavors.
It has a strong sweet scent due to the presence of methyl benzoate. The fruit is very fragrant and when you cut one open the smell will fill the room. The flesh is a jelly-like consistency like a kiwi fruit.
When is a Feijoa Ripe?
Feijoas will simply drop off the tree and onto the ground when they are ripe. But when you are buying feijoas from a grocery store, telling if they are ripe can be a little tricky.
The feijoa skin does not change color as the fruit ripens. When unripe they will feel hard like a rock. If you give them a gentle squeeze and there is a bit of ‘give’, they are suitable for eating. This is subtle ‘give’ and a lot less than a ripe avocado. The best way to tell is to cut them open and look for translucent flesh in the center of the fruit. The flesh closer to the skin will remain white.
If you have an unripe feijoa, it can be stored for 2-3 days in your fruit bowl until it is ready to eat.
How to eat a Feijoa
The flesh of feijoa is a bit like a jelly, so slicing your feijoa in half and scooping out the flesh with a spoon is the best way to eat them.
Can you eat feijoa skin? Well, you can eat the skin, but it has a slightly bitter taste compared to the fruit inside and not everyone finds it enjoyable. But if you don’t have a spoon or knife on hand, you could bite into the fruit, and it won’t be too unpleasant.
Preserving Feijoa Fruit
If you’re lucky enough to have loads of feijoa, you might like to try some different ways of preserving them. So here are a couple of suggestions for preserving your feijoa fruit:
Bottled Feijoas– From Allyson Grafton. This is a simple recipe for bottling feijoas that uses the fruit, sugar, and water. Optional: try adding vanilla bean or orange peel to mix up the flavor.
Feijoa and Ginger Jam – from Fowlers. The ginger in this recipe adds a warmth to the jam that’s particularly delicious during winter.
Feijoa Jam – from Food.com. The lemon zest used in this recipe gives the jam a great tangy flavor and makes it versatile.
Feijoa Recipe Ideas
How do we cook with feijoas? One option is to replace any recipe which calls for banana or apple with feijoa fruit in a 1:1 ratio. This means crumbles, pancakes, breads, and even pork sausage rolls could be a great opportunity to test this fruit out in a new way.
The flesh does not hold shape, but this means you often do not need to stew the fruit as you do with apple or pear. You can always use your preserved feijoas on top of cereal, granola, pancakes, or in a smoothie.
Here are some recipe ideas, using feijoa:
Feijoa and white chocolate muffins – from Tania’s Kitchen. These muffins are light, fluffy, and a great afternoon snack or addition to the lunchbox.
Chocolate Feijoa Cake – from Healthy Food Guide. This is a great simple recipe that could be made gluten-free by replacing the flour or turned into a vanilla feijoa cake by replacing the cocoa powder and chocolate chips with vanilla essence.
Feijoa Ice cream – from Feijoa Addiction. A simple recipe with only a couple of ingredients. This ice cream will taste like a tropical summer!
Roasted Feijoa Salad – from the Devil wears Salad. This recipe pairs feijoa with bacon, rocket, and ricotta giving a unique and delicious combination of flavors and textures.
Sliced pineapple Feijoa Chutney – from My Recipes. The recipe uses feijoas, dates, and raisins to add a sweet and aromatic combination to the chutney and enough spices to set off your tastebuds. This chutney would be great paired with pork or chicken.
Feijoa, Honey and Pistachio Strudel – from Viva. This strudel is great to eat on its own or paired with cream or yogurt.
Feijoa and Chicken Curry – from NZ Herald. This curry has a unique sweet and sour flavor.
Feijoa Panna Cotta – From the Fabulous Feijoa. This is a great recipe to cook using frozen fruit. This dessert is rich and creamy and simple to make, and best prepared the day before so they have time to set.
Feijoa Syrup and Feijoa Skin Cordial – from Stuff. This article has recipes for Feijoa syrup and feijoa skin cordial. Use the syrup diluted in sparkling water, or on a dessert.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can a feijoa be too ripe?
Absolutely, and the appearance of the fruit does not change much so knowing how long the fruit has been ripe for is key. Overripe feijoas will deteriorate in flavor and start to turn brown.
Is feijoa a citrus fruit?
No, feijoa belongs to the myrtle family. The flowering myrtles include guava, clove, and eucalyptus.
Do all feijoas taste the same?
All feijoas have the same flavor profile, but some varieties have a stronger tasting fruit than others.
Should I store my feijoas in the refrigerator?
You can keep feijoas in a plastic bag once ripe in the refrigerator to help preserve the flavor for longer.
Can I freeze feijoas?
Yes, you can, if you freeze them whole the flesh should stay a good quality for 12 months. Freeze in an airtight container or bag.
Can I dehydrate Feijoas?
Yes absolutely! You can use a dehydrator to dehydrate feijoas, or you can do this on a very low oven setting. Feijoas are usually peeled, or cut in half and the flesh taken out for drying. They usually need at least 12 hours in a dehydrator but once dry they’ll be delicious and last many months.
Whether you prefer to just eat the fruit as nature intended or add it to your next dessert, feijoas add a tropical flavor to any dish with their pineapple guava flavors and aromatic perfume. Can you taste strawberries, mint or quince?
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