With an uncanny resemblance to our national flower, this easy-to-grow fruit was first discovered in 1815 by a German explorer by the name of Freidrich Sellow in southern Brazil. It wasn’t until the 1920s that one of New Zealand’s favorite fruits arrived here.
From there, our prized feijoa journeyed to Europe in 1890 with the help of a French botanist, Dr. Edouard Andre. However, it was named after a Brazilian botanist named Joam da Silva Feijo. It then arrived shortly thereafter here in New Zealand, where it lapped up the ideal climate and thrived, much as it does today.
The feijoa can be found in other countries, going under aliases like pineapple guava, Brazilian guava, and guavasteen, although it is not a guava. The feijoa grows on a shrub with dark green leaves and pretty little red flowers. It’s easy to grow this bush, which requires little attention and still yields this delicious fruit.
If you’ve never had a feijoa, when you visit New Zealand, you should make sure to taste it. The flavours are usually described as a cross between pineapple, strawberry, and guava, however some people say it has a flavour profile that tastes like pineapple and mint.
It’s a very versatile fruit that has found its way into cakes, muffins, salsas, sauces, jellies, jams, and a variety of other desserts. It’s even been used in curries. You’ll find it when you shop for New Zealand goods as part of the ingredients in everything from tea to skincare products.
If you need more reasons to try feijoas, they make a great snack because they are low in calories and fat. They are filled with antioxidant-rich vitamin C, as well as B vitamins, vitamin E, and vitamin K. Feijoas also have plenty of great minerals in them too including calcium and magnesium. They will keep you healthy and free of illnesses, plus they are filled with fiber so you’ll stay full for longer.
If you want to choose a feijoa properly, look for one that has no blemishes. It should also have a soft feel to it. The scent is very distinctive when it is ripe. When you cut into it, the jellied portion of it should be clear. Should you do so before it’s perfectly ripe, the jellied section will be half clear and half white. And if it’s past its prime, both the jellied section and surrounding flesh will be brown.
Buying them prior to ripening is fine. You can place them in a decorative fruit bowl for several days. However, once they ripen, it’s best to tuck them into the refrigerator to preserve their flavour.
Buy a feijoa next time you go out shopping. They’re refreshing and they’re everywhere