Feijoas are right show-offs. Stick one in a fruit bowl to ripen and it’ll soon fill the room with its heady, tropical scents of banana, sweet strawberry, ripe pineapple and guava. The creamy-coloured flesh, apart from the jellied seeds, is granular like a pear in some varieties, smoother in others. Feijoas ripen from the inside and yield a little when gently squeezed, like an avocado. If feijoas are firm, keep them in the fruit bowl and they will ripen in a few days. If they feel ready, but you are not ready to use them, store them in the refrigerator and use within a few days. Feijoas have their highest concentration of vitamin C just after picking. Along with bags of vitamin C – an average feijoa contains around 9mg so three a day will see you right for your daily quota – they contain minerals and fibres, and comparatively high levels of compounds that enhance anti-inflammatory and antioxidant activity. That’s all good news. Feijoas can be frozen, either as whole peeled fruit, chopped fruit or as a purée. For whole fruit, peel, put in a container and freeze for up to 6 months. Sprinkling the peeled or cut fruit with lemon juice will help slow down discolouration.
Feijoas are delicious on their own, but there’s plenty else you can do with them. They’re pretty legendary in a crumble – and here’s a thing – they are simply sensational when combined with banana. Use them in place of or with apple in crumbles, fruit turnovers, strudels, sponge puddings, pies and tarts. They make a great salsa with lime juice, hot red chilli, a dot of honey, a little squeezed juice from grated ginger and a sprinkle of chopped mint; or use in chutney, adding ginger, lime zest, golden sultanas, hot red chilli, crushed coriander seeds and a pinch of allspice.
Photography by Julie Biuso