Although Kiwifruit is our namesake, feijoa is the fruit in the heart of many New Zealanders.
One of the few remaining seasonal treats, feijoas are only available from late March until June.
Originating in South America, feijoas were introduced to New Zealand in the 1920s. Fruit of the plant feijoa sellowiana, they are known as pineapple guava in California. A cousin of our native pohutukawa, this member of the flowering myrtle prefers cool winters and moderate summers, which makes the Bay of Plenty, Auckland and Northland ideal places for them to grow. With a number of commercial growers seeing the potential of these enticing unique fruit, New Zealand
is the world’s largest producer of feijoas. The main export market is currently Australia, where the appetite of ex-pat Kiwis gobble up this autumn taste of New Zealand.
Feijoas are ready to eat when slightly soft and when the jellied section in the centre of the fruit is clear. Depending on the variety, this may happen on the tree or within 2–5 days of natural fruit drop. The fruit is unripe when the jellied sections are white and past its best when they are browning. Feijoa is a versatile fruit, with its tropical flavours working well in cakes, muffins, desserts, salsas, sauces, jams, jellies and curries. Commercial products include chocolate, tea, cereal, wine, vodka, preserves and sweets. One of the biggest advantages of feijoa is that it can be frozen and cooked without loss of flavour or deterioration to its cream-coloured, fragrant flesh.