Tuesday, 26 March 2013

Feijoa; Autumn Bounty from the Hedge

I LOVE feijoas, feijoa (fee-joe-a) are one of my most adored fruits. I am in seventh heaven with a big pile of ripe feijoa in front of me, a sharp knife & a spoon to scoop out the succulent flesh. So it was with great joy that I collected a large bag full after David pointed out to me that the feijoa hedge the van was backed up against at White Star Station, had deposited a load of fruit onto the ground in the wind overnight.

When we arrived I had tested (like all good kiwi kids do) a few that hung on the trees but they were rock hard & I thought with the dry summer we’ve had they weren’t quite ready to ripen yet. And in fact, I’ll have to wait a few days for these ones to ripen a bit more but I’ve had a good go testing the pile for ripe ones!


Every kiwi kid grows up loving feijoas, I have memories of sitting under feijoa trees eating as many as you can before your mother calls out you'll get belly-ache, or raiding a hedge of feijoa you find on the way to school. Feijoas are a South American fruit but one New Zealand has made their own (they are known as pineapple quavas in America). They have a very distinct & unusual flavour which is quite hard to describe, pineapple menthol perhaps…..
 
Feijoa hedges along with individual trees are found in many home orchards & especially in the back yard of older homes. You used to have to plant a female & a male tree to get any fruit or hope that bees from a neighbour’s male tree came to your female tree to pollinate it. Nowadays propagated trees are both female & male. Planted in a hedgerow feijoas provide excellent wind breaks & feijoa hedges line many public parks, golf courses & gardens.

If I was at home I’d be making feijoa chutney to give me my feijoa fix through the winter but I guess I’ll just have to eat the lot of these & savour the taste, or perhaps I can swap some for a couple of fillets of fresh fish…..

Footnote
I actually made feijoa compote with half the amount I had, & deliciously sweet but great with a good dollop of yoghurt added to it for dessert. It will also keep in the fridge for a few weeks.......if it lasts that long.



 
 
I also gave a small bag to our neighbour at Port Jackson, a lady we'd met previously at Kirita Bay. She had lost her husband a few years ago, rented out her home on Waiheke Island & was travelling NZ in her campervan (well actually it was a caravan shell on a truck) Whenever she arrives anywhere, no matter for how long, she off-loads her potted lettuce & herbs to the ground nearby, sticks her coloured windmill in the ground, hangs up her prayers flags & strings her solar powered coloured lights about. Home is where the heart is I guess.
 

 


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