A quintessential New Zealand fruit, the feijoa is also known as a ‘guavasteen’ or ‘pineapple guava’ - although it’s not a guava or even related to a guava!
Although the feijoa feels distinctly ‘kiwi’, it originates from Central and South America, but we’ve embraced this fragrant fruit and claimed it as our own. It’s practically a part of our cultural heritage, and in peak season can replace money as a form of currency, with people bargaining over buckets full of the green gold. Not surprisingly, New Zealand is one of the largest feijoa producing nations in the world.
The feijoa is high in dietary fibre, antioxidants, and one fruit can give you half your daily vitamin C requirement, although, let’s face it, who can stop at one!
Gisborne has the ideal climate for growing feijoas, and we’ve carefully selected the best available. Our feijoas are grown at Guavasteen Grove, situated on the banks of the Waipoa River on the Poverty Bay Flats. The rich river silt and temperate climate provide ideal conditions for producing juicy, plump, sweet fruit. Soil tests show a perfect balance with no need to add fertilisers so the 180 Apollo and Pounamu trees are free-spirited and abundant with no chemical interference.
Spray-free and naturally pollinated by birds, the trees produce a beautiful red flower in November and by early April the trees drop their fruit as they ripen. The season usually lasts 6-8 weeks and the big fruit are in full swing within the first three weeks. Our fruit is both collected from nets and hand-touch picked for maximum freshness and shelf life. The ideal time to eat the fruit is 5-8 days from picking as this allows the full flavour to develop.
Our fruit is used in a multitude of recipes, has appeared in MindFood magazine and has been made into wine, cider and wheat beer. Feijoas are also popular in restaurants and bars where they feature in margaritas and other cocktails. Feijoas freeze well when cut and scooped, but nothing beats the taste of a perfectly ripe fruit cut in half and eaten with a spoon. One feijoa is never enough when they taste this good and some people even eat them skin and all.
If feijoas are not quite ripe, they can be stored in a fruit bowl for a couple of days. Once ripe, feijoas should be stored in the refrigerator. If not refrigerated, ripe feijoas only retain their best flavour for 2-3 days. After this, the flavour deteriorates without any change in the fruit’s outward appearance.