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Milkwood Blog

How to romance your feijoa

May 9, 2012 | Forest Gardening | 22 comments | Author:

There is nothing quite like a feijoa – they are simply the most amazing fruit. Fragrant, pungent, sweet yet sour, gooey in the middle and grainy round the edges. The original yum in a small green torpedo.

They also tend to appear as a surprise in large quantities when ripe, probably because they’re so darn hard to see on the tree. If you’re planting them, plant them in a high-traffic area, lest you miss their amazingness until it’s too late in the season…

Feijoa fruit and flower (why it was still vaguely flowering in Autumn I’m not quite sure)
Why you can end up with a glut – feijoas are hard to see, when hidden by their foliage (there are actually 36 feijoas in this photo. Ok not really, but there could be!)…

The feijoa is also known as pineapple guava or guavasteen. Wikipedia says it’s native to South America only, though widely cultivated in New Zealand. It’s an evergreen shrub that grows to 7m and is frost tolerant (yay), growing in temperate and sub-tropical areas.

You can eat the flower petals but that would result in less fruit so I would highly advise against such a terrible thing. And if you really want to kill off the romance while biting into one (an incredible sensation), just remember that the aroma is due to the ester methyl benzoate and related compounds.

Ok so now you (well I do, at anyrate) have your feijoas in quantity. You could eat them all right now, though it would take some time. But should you? Or should you try and spread the love across the seasons, so to speak?

If it was up to me, and me alone, i think i would just eat them all, straight up. I might look like a feijoa by the end of it (round, tight and green) but it would be worth it.

But what about the rest of the year? Or the feijoa-void, as one might call it? It is a long time till next autumn.

So in the interests of  distributing both diverse flavors and vitamins across the seasons, i asked the question of our facebook page how best to preserve feijoas, and here is a tiny sample of the very helpful suggestions that came back:

The feijoa page from the Food Forest in Gawler, SA (they also have an awesome DVD, which goes well beyond feijoas)

Feijoa Feijoa – an entire blog dedicated to feijoa recipes. Includes feijoa wine (which looks quite easy).

Microwave Feijoa jam! Cook your fruit with just enough water to cover and then measure it. Return to bowl and add an equal quantity of sugar. Cook to setting point (check with chilled saucer from the freezer) and bottle in sterilised jars. I also like to experiment with spices like cardamon, cinnamon, ginger and cloves. A splash of wine can be nice too. – Meg McGowan

Feijoa tart, by tinyhappy. Yum.

So. I’m off to peel my gazillions of feijoas and get to it. Compote is looking good, as is the wine and the jam. Any other brilliant recipes I should be aware of?

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  • Becc Pritchard May 9, 2012 at 6:30 am | Reply

    I’ve never tasted Feijoa so no recipes here, sorry. But I may just buy one at the QLD Garden Expo next month as you have made my mouth water! Goodluck with the preserving :)

  • Anne May 9, 2012 at 7:41 am | Reply

    Hi, Love your blog. another way to treat feijoas! Preserve them with apples, granny smith are an ideal choice. As they are a strong beautiful flavour, mixing them with apple makes them go further, tones it down and gives the apples more zing. Makes a great filling for pies in the winter then. Apple and feijoa pie – Yum!!

  • scholarhobbit May 9, 2012 at 11:15 am | Reply

    If they fall in the food forest, can the chooks eat them, or are the skins too tough?

  • Steve W May 9, 2012 at 1:12 pm | Reply

    Just eat ‘em – quick, before someone else does :)

  • Steve W May 9, 2012 at 1:14 pm | Reply

    You didn’t mention that they fall off the bush when they are ripe. Extremely convenient for those of us too short-sighted to spot the green fruits on the green bush.

  • Emma May 9, 2012 at 5:29 pm | Reply

    Oh fantastic. Great timing too. We bought some Feijoa the other week and made yummy Feijoa muffins

    The other day though we discovered two Feijoa plants in the abandoned orchard across the road. Win! So we were looking for new things to do with them.

  • Christine Neville May 10, 2012 at 9:17 am | Reply

    we have trees for sale for home gardeners and small farms make great hedges
    part of our community fundraising.

  • narf77 May 11, 2012 at 7:05 am | Reply

    Agreed Steve W just get a big bowl of them a knife and a spoon and start cutting. The most heady and heavenly way to start your day :) I will be trying some of these amazing ideas as soon as we get some feijoas that my daughters haven’t given the Steve W treatment to ;)

  • Bowerbird May 13, 2012 at 6:48 am | Reply

    How do I pronounce feijoa? Would an Aussie say “fay-hoy-ah”?

  • Christine Neville May 13, 2012 at 6:59 am | Reply

    we say fee joe ah ! or delicious :-)

  • Lou May 14, 2012 at 9:54 pm | Reply

    Will feijoas grow in the upper Blue Mountains?

    1. Christine Neville May 15, 2012 at 9:38 am | Reply

      feijoas should grow very well, they are very adaptable and from our experience thrive with cooler winters we have -10c here in Northern Tablelands NSW winter.

    2. peta Hudson May 27, 2014 at 5:08 pm | Reply

      Hi Lou I live on the Otago Peninsula 30ks out of Dunedin NZ and am growing feijoas here on sand (with some compost). A friend grows them in town (Dunedin) and has huge fruit with the help of good soil, and a warm micro climate (heat absorbing walls). The ones for cooler conditins are Unique and Tagan 1 and Tagan 2 . Give it a go!

  • KerryF June 1, 2012 at 12:39 pm | Reply

    We’d never even heard of Feijoa’s until we wondered what the beautiful flowers were on the mystery tree at our new house… :) Now we’re definitely fans and look forward to the harvest (mad dash to collect everything that’s ripe before the possums and cockies get it all) every year. Favourites are using it in a crumble, with apple for a slight zing to a traditional taste or with banana and coconut for a truly tropical tang! We also use it to make jam or freeze the pulp for later use in smoothies (yummy with kiwi and strawberry) to keep us going through the rest of the year. We’re now looking to propagate our tree and use it to create an edible hedge in the shadier parts of the garden. Yummy! :)

    1. milkwoodkirsten June 1, 2012 at 10:07 pm | Reply

      hooray! enjoy!

  • Shayne Larratt July 31, 2012 at 8:29 am | Reply

    My tree is about 5 years old and while it has beautiful flowers it is yet to fruit.Any ideas?

    1. Christine Hall July 31, 2012 at 9:54 am | Reply

      hello pollination is maybe your problem we sell trees and suggest people buy 2 bees don’t seemed to like feijoa flowers and small birds seem to be the ones pollinating ours plus cross pollination.

    2. peta Hudson May 27, 2014 at 5:11 pm | Reply

      Yes it’s birds that do the pollinating but you can help it along by going from flower to flower with a small paint brush in hand

  • […] Feijoa(image from here) […]

  • Rubber Band | The View From Mercy's Hips August 31, 2014 at 8:35 pm | Reply

    […] Us! (The Happy Feijoa! :P)Original image (before being made happy) of feijoa courtesy of […]

  • Rubber Band | The View From Mercy's Hips September 17, 2014 at 10:19 pm | Reply

    […] Us! (The Happy Feijoa! :P) Original image (before being made happy) of feijoa courtesy of […]

  • naomi November 21, 2014 at 3:22 am | Reply

    You don’t have to skin them, you can just pulse them in a blender and add sugar 1.5 to 1 they will keep well, and even better in the fridge.


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