(Feijoa sellowiana – Family Myrtaceae)
Feijoa, Brazilian guava, guavasteen (West Indies), pineapple guava
Feijoas are native to South America, where it is found at high altitudes in parts of Argentina, Uruguay, southern Brazil, and Paraguay. Today, it is also cultivated in New Zealand, and can be grown in many warm temperate zones of the world. Some very old trees still survive in Seville.
The traditional method of harvesting was to gather the fruits when they fell to the ground, which is awkward for commercial growers. Expert pickers are able to select the fruit at just the right stage. The earlier part of the crop is best marketed as fresh fruit. Those that ripen later are used mostly to produced canned juice, but can also be stewed or made into preserves.
An excellent source of Vitamin C, folate (B9), and iodine, the feijoa fruit takes its name from the Portuguese botanist, Dom da Silva Feijoa, who discovered it in Brazil.
Feijoa is a small evergreen tree with gray-green leaves, which is often grown as an ornamental.
Although a distant cousin of the guava and treated as such, the fruit resembles a small, slightly pear-shaped passion fruit about three inches long. The skin is a dark, olive green that yellows as the fruit ripens, and can be shiny or slightly downy. Often it will have a white, powdery bloom.
The thin, tough, bumpy, skin protects the red jelly-like pulp, with its many tiny, edible, black seeds. Despite its other name, the “pineapple guava” tastes more like a mix between a pineapple and a strawberry. As the fruit ripens, so does its inviting aroma.