Feijoas are wonderful Autumn fruits! Every New Zealand house should have a lemon and feijoa tree! Such versatile fruits and so easy to grow. A mature feijoa tree can produce between 15 and 25kg of fruit! So you can imagine how much we collect from our 8 trees! Gulp! Yes, we planted 8 tiny little twigs and years later we have huge trees producing a truckload of fruit we are able to share and eat. The trick to growing fruit, is to be able to preserve your excess.
The fruiting window for feijoas is between 5-8 weeks. You don’t pick feijoas, you wait for them to drop to the ground, and then you simply go out each day and collect what is on the ground. We are currently collecting a basketful each and every day. If we miss out on a days collection, we have to double the collection the next day. In the beginning of feijoa drop, we roughly manage to eat most of what we collect, but as the drop increases, we start to get a bit more creative in what we do with the harvest. Feijoa crumble is a favourite!
This is a good way to preserve feijoas. I freeze some whole, skin and all. This way, I can grate the frozen feijoa to make feijoa cake or muffins. Another method for freezing is to cut the fruit in half, scooping out the flesh. I freeze them on baking trays, once they are frozen, I package them in reusable ziploc bags. These are great for extracting 4-6 frozen halves to use in fruit smoothies. If you freeze them all together, they stick together and it is difficult to take out the amount you need.
The skins: this is one of the most undervalued parts of the fruit! Instead of throwing the skins away, why not soak them in water for 3 days, then strain and bottle the liquid Feijoa Fizz! A delicious cider from, well, literally, compost!!
There is two methods for dehydrating your feijoas.
- Peel, slice and place your feijoa rings into a dehydrator. 5-6 hrs later, you can bag your dried feijoa rings. I always add a dehydrator sachet which I save from food packages like organic rice.
- Make fruit leather (thanks Rachel) by blending the scooped out flesh, add 2 Tbspn lemon juice (stops it from discolouring) and 1-2 TBspn sugar (optional). You should have about 3 cups of blended fruit to pour onto a baking paper lined baking tray. Place in the oven at 50degC for 5-6 hrs. Keep checking to see if it is dried. When it is not sticky to the touch, you can cut the dried fruit leather into strips along with the baking paper still attached. Roll them up and store in an airtight jar or bag. These make great snacks for lunch boxes. Experiment with blending different fruits together, I’ve tried feijoa/guava blend which is equally yummy.
This is another great way to preserve your fruit. Cut the fruit in half, scoop out the flesh and boil it in a pot with 1/4 cup water and 1/4 cup sugar. Blend with a hand held blender to create a smooth pulp. Bring to the boil again and pour into sterilised, hot jars. Seal and label. This purée is great served on top of muesli, with chia pots, or as a fruit salad topping instead of cream.
Or skip the blending and pour into hot, sterilised jars to use for a dessert of feijoa compote served with custard!
The final addition to processing your feijoa harvest is to make jam and chutney with your feijoas! So you can see what a versatile fruit this humble South American fruit is! They grow easily, produce prolifically and are a powerful source of Vitamin C in Autumn! Do you have one growing? What are the ways that your honour your harvest?