Feijoas: Tips and recipes
Originally from the South American countries of Brazil, Uruguay, Paraguay and Argentina, the feijoa (named after Portuguese botanist João da Silva Feijó) was introduced to New Zealand in the 1920s. Since then horticulturalists have developed new feijoa varieties such as the Apollo and Gemini (for their rocket-shaped fruit) and the Kakapo and Pounamu (for their dark green colouring).
With its sweet and aromatic flavour, feijoas are a versatile fruit that can be used in baking, desserts, preserves, salsas as well as savoury cooking. Their granular texture is similar to that of a pear or guava. Also known as the pineapple guava or guavasteen, feijoas are part of the flowering myrtle family which includes the guava, eucalyptus and clove. They are an autumn fruit available in New Zealand from March to June.
Feijoas are high in antioxidants (such as flavonoids and glycosides), minerals (calcium, phosphrous, potassium and magnesium) and is a great source of vitamin C and fibre. They also contain small proportions of B-complex vitamins such as pantothenic acid, niacin, and vitamin-B6 (pyridoxine).
How to select feijoas
When selecting feijoas, choose ones free of blemishes and that have a distinctive tropical fruity aroma. Ripe fruit are slightly soft to the touch and the jellied section of a freshly-cut feijoa is clear. Under-ripe fruit will reveal a half white/ half clear jellied section and over-ripe fruit will have a greyish or brown centre. When the fruit is at its most flavourful, it drops from the tree - to avoid bruising, pick the fruit before it falls.
How to store feijoas
Unripe feijoas can be stored for two or three days in a fruit bowl to fully ripen. Ripe feijoas should be stored in a plastic bag in the refrigerator to best retain their fragrant flavour. Once cut, the fruit will turn brown through oxidisation - use lemon juice to stop this from happening.
How to freeze feijoas
For year-round cooking with feijoas, freezing the fruit allows you to extend it use beyond the season.
- If you need larger pieces, cut feijoas in half and scoop out the flesh to freeze. Freezing feijoas in cup quantities is recommended so all you have to do is defrost the exact quantity you need for a recipe.
- Some baking and drink recipes call for feijoa puree - freezing them in ice cubes is best for this.
- You can also freeze whole fruit if you're in a hurry - simply defrost (and skin if required) the fruit when ready to use.
The skin of the feijoa is not normally eaten. However, when making jam or relishes there is no need to peel the fruit. Just top and tail and chop the fruit to size.
Below is a selection of our top feijoa recipes. For more, check out our 10 ways with feijoa feature plus these collections:
From strudel, tarte Tatin and cobblers to rice pudding and poached fruit, here are some of our favourite feijoa dessert recipes.
Baking with feijoa
Get baking with these cake, muffin and slice recipes using deliciously sweet feijoas.
Fab feijoa cake
Feijoa date cake
Bottle up extra feijoas and enjoy the flavours in the winter months with these feijoa chutney, jam and preserve recipes.
Cooking with feijoa
You need not limit your enjoyment of feijoas to desserts... these savoury dishes incorporate feijoas for a flavour twist.