Feijoas from my neighbour’s hedge

I always look forward to March, not only because my birthday is in March, but because that’s when the feijoa season starts in New Zealand. Most people associate New Zealand with kiwifruit and maybe apples, but to me, it’s all about the feijoa. Even when I was in Europe on my big OE (for non-kiwis: overseas experience), I had my mum bring me feijoas when she came to visit me. And she did. She brought a suitcase full of feijoas. I was in heaven!

I have fond childhood memories of feijoas. Many houses in our neighbourhood had feijoa hedges, and come March-April-May, we’d often pick (note: it’s not stealing when the fruit is on the outside!) the yummy green fruit and eat them right there and then. The proper way to eat feijoas is by cutting them in half and then scooping out the fruit with the spoon. But we used to bite of the top and squish the pulp directly into our mouths. That’s why we were experts at picking the best fruit. It had to give way when you pressed it, but not be too soft, because that’s when it would be overripe and past the best taste. If the fruit was too hard, it would be sour. So you had to pick them just right.

Feijoas don’t last long either. I think that’s probably the reason it never got exported and distributed like the kiwifruit. You can keep them in your fruit bowl or fridge for a few days, but no more than a week. They’ll soften and go brown quickly. Especially the pulp, and unlike most fruit, feijoas don’t become sweeter when they’re overripe, they just go bleh.

However, the most mesmerising thing about feijoas is their fragrance. It has such a distinct scent that it’s difficult to describe. I’ve heard people describe it as a mix of various fruits, such as banana/pinapple/strawberry, but you can’t really know what it’s like until you smell and taste the fruit yourself.

Most people will eat the feijoas fresh, but did you know that you can also add them to your muesli and porridge, make sauces, jellies and chutneys, or add them to curries?

Feijoa fruits have high antioxidant activity as they contain significant concentrations of polyphenols (PPs), carotenoids and vitamins. Source

The feijoa is high in vitamins, minerals and anti-oxidants, particular vitamin C and potassium, which makes it a great constituent in skin care products. For a quick and easy skin care trick, after scooping out the pulp, place the skins on your face and leave them on for 10 minutes before rinsing off with water. It’s great for exfoliation and leaves your skin looking fresh and bright.

If you’d like some more ideas, check out the following tutorials: Feijoa soap, which contains fresh feijoa pulp and makes for a great exfoliating shower soap. A delicious feijoa-scented bath bomb with added mango butter to leave your skin amazingly soft. And finally a coconut and feijoa lip balm to keep your lips nicely moisturised (and also tastes yummy!).

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