Feijoa’s!! An Autumn Jewel has arrived!
Finally we have started to see Feijoa’s starting to ripen on their trees, laying on the dewy grass under their trees in the morning waiting to be picked up and even our local fruit and veggie shop has as a small offering available to purchase.
But what are these Feijoa’s that New Zealanders seem to have such a cult following for?
A pretty ordinary (looking at it from the outside) green, egg-shaped fruit, but what’s inside is a delicacy that has a long-awaited cult-like following every year. With a very distinctive but yet very complex flavour distinction, the inside of the fruit is juicy and made up of a clear gelatin-like seedy pulp, that becomes firmer as you get closer to the edge of the skin, with a grainy texture. The texture can be described as a mix between a pear and a guava and with the taste being described anywhere from sweet, tart, sour and of course juicy somewhere between a strawberry, pineapple and guava and with the odd person even tasting a hint of mint!
There is one thing that we can definitely say and that is that a Feijoa tastes like a Feijoa!! An indescribable, unique and complex taste! One that should definitely be on everyone’s to try-list at least once!
Feijoas are however not a native to New Zealand, but originate from southern South America namely southern Brazil, Uruguay, western Paraguay and northern Argentina. Feijoas need a very specific subtropical climate to grow and this is why even in New Zealand, Feijoas are not abundant throughout the whole country, finding Feijoa in Christchurch for instance is a complete rarity.
The first Feijoa were actually collected in the wild rainforests of southern Brazil by a German botanist in 1815. They were introduced into New Zealand over a hundred or so years later in the 1920’s.
The cult- following of Feijoas is intensified, by the very short season that they are ripe. The Feijoa season starts in March and goes till June (these days we are very luck by the number of different varieties available to us, giving us continued fruiting trees throughout that season). To make matters worse for Feijoa lovers, Feijoas are also very prone to bruising, so unfortunately very hard to keep (or travel long distances).
Delicious to eat fresh, make jams or bake with! Feijoas’ are a definite favourite here at the Big Foody Food Tours. Join us on a tour in March to June and we will go to the utmost effort to get you sampling Feijoas on our tours!
Not available fresh? New Zealand is obsessed with ‘feijoa flavoured’ products! Try our favourite and their bestselling Feijoa Chocolate from Bennetts at Mangawhai, Simply Squeezed’s Feijoa Smoothies readily available in Supermarkets or Macey’s Feijoa lollies available in most dairies.
Fresh New Zealand Feijoas