What to do with Feijoas
Growing and harvesting feijoas
Most years we have an abundance of feijoas and we often ask ourselves (and Google) what to do with feijoas? They seem to be a “love it or hate it” kind of fruit. However, there are many different varieties that vary greatly in texture and flavour so try some different ones before you write them off completely if you don’t like them. If you do like them you may be looking for some ideas for what to do with feijoas.
When we moved here we wanted to create a hedge for shelter above the orchard and produce something edible as well. We planted a mixture of seedling feijoa bushes. The fruit varies from small, yellow, hard and gritty with a slightly bitter after taste to large, smooth skinned, super sweet almost pure white and everything in between.
This season was very dry at a critical fruit development stage. In hindsight some pruning and extra water would have benefited them. Feijoas are best left to fall from the bush. Picked too soon and they never sweeten and soften up properly. They will drop a lot of small under ripe fruit if they have been too dry.
Feijoas enjoy a good feed. Ours get a dose of sheep or horse manure spread around them in the spring after harvest. That way it rots away before fruit drop. Compost, seaweed (rotted), grass clippings, shredded garden waste etc are all ok to spread underneath. Stick to the “drip line” (about the distance the leaves spread out from the bush).
Feijoas will tolerate frost down to -10C. They like a well drained soil with plenty of water during flowering and fruiting. They are easy care and don’t require a lot of pruning. To make harvest easier it is a good idea to keep the lower branches trimmed u and take out a few from the centres to leave some air flow.
If you want to grow your own from seed check out this video.
Bottling, fruit leather (roll ups), dried fruit, liqueur, relish and chutney, eat fresh, desserts. The small ones are ideal for bottling. They are just a bit of a pain to peel.
The larger feijoas are ideal dried in slices and small sweet ones cut in half make an excellent dried “sweet”.
Feijoa liqueur is easy to make. Poured over ice cream it’s a quick and easy dessert treat.
Feijoa relish is a tasty addition to a cheese platter or ploughman’s lunch. Even better they don’t need peeling.
As you peel feijoas place them in water with lemon juice in it to prevent browning. Juice of 2 lemons to 2 litres of water.
To prevent browning of the fruit all cut surfaces must touch the water but you don’t want to lose the juice and flavour by leaving them soak for too long so work in small quantities. For drying feijoas put the whole fruit in the lemon water and slice and dip in the lemon water when ready to load the trays.
- Place clean jars and metal screw top lids in the oven at 100C for 10 mins.
- Prepare a light syrup of 1 c sugar to 5 c water. Honey can be used instead of sugar. Start with ½ c and add more to your taste. Use 2 split vanilla pods (can be cut into 20 mm pieces so a piece a be added to each jar), two thumbs of fresh ginger grated (pieces about the size of your thumb) or a handful of chopped crystallised ginger, zest and juice of 2 lemons.
- Bring it to the boil and boil for a few minutes.
- Place peeled fruit into the syrup and bring it back to the boil. As the fruit softens remove from the syrup and put into hot jars. Top with syrup and screw on the lid. Make sure you get a bit of ginger and some zest into each jar.
Slice feijoas, you can peel or leave skin on, place in large clean jar, cover with sugar and pour in vodka. Leave 8 weeks or more, drain off fruit – this can be used for desserts – sweeten liquid with simple sugar syrup to your taste.
Puree and roll ups
Sometimes there are lots with bruises or spots. These make great puree. Cut out the bad bits of course. Mix with pureed apple at a 2:1 ratio. If you don’t want to add sugar and like it sweet, use sweeter apples or if you like a bit of a tart bite use Sturmers, Granny Smiths or other cooking apples. For more intense feijoa flavour keep to 2 parts feijoa to 1 of apple. If you want a sweeter less intense version add more apple. You can also add flavours of ginger, lemon, vanilla, cinnamon or anything else you like with feijoas.
I rub the solid sheets with coconut oil and make sure the puree is spread evenly. Giving the trays a gentle shake from side to side will help but make sure the puree doesn’t become thicker in the middle than the outer edges. Dry on 50C for 8-10 hrs.
To check if the roll ups are done gently lift an out edge. If sticky leave for longer. Turn over if they are dry enough to lift from the sheets. The roll ups should be pliable but not sticky. Depending on the sugar content and how evenly they have dried they may become brittle and break rather than roll.
Leave the fruit whole and just before you are ready to load up dehydrator or oven trays slice the fruit & return to lemon water. Use a slotted spoon to remove and place the fruit on trays. I use the mesh sheet on the dehydrator. If using oven trays use baking paper. Dry on the dehydrator for 6-8 hrs at 50C or in a fan oven on 50C with the door open slightly.