Life at No.22, New Zealand

The Fabulous Feijoa

It is a small oval and bluish green fruit, and it plops down on most kiwi back lawns.  

Delectable and very unique to Aotearoa/New Zealand.  Although not a native,  and unfortunately only really grows in the North Island though it could be said it’s loved and celebrated nationwide.

True fans of this delicious fruit await the Feijoa season similar to the summer holidays or even Christmas.

And great excitement as they arrive as does the fresh air. Then, the inevitable happens as there are an abundance and more than enough feijoas.

Then comes the creative ways in which we can devour even more such as the old fashioned Feijoa crumble, the fresh feijoa smoothies, trendy feijoa ice cream, saucy feijoa chutney, smooth feijoa cider, or weird combinations of feijoas with crunchy peanut butter. Feijoas in their pure form are traditionally eaten cut in half and spooned out.

So, how does it taste?

I recall the first time I watched an overseas visitor try one, and shall we say it was a done with much trepidation on her part and prompting on mine.

“So, how was it? Do you like it? How does it taste?”
“Ummm, I really can’t put my finger on what it tastes like, could be something familiar, but then again, it doesn’t. It’s not really that sweet.”

Her reaction I must admit was not a typical one.

Memories of my first time, many moons ago when I was no higher than an adults knee. I admit I really wasn’t that thrilled by the taste. Then there are the lingering memories of ‘fermentation’ and ‘perfume’.  Doesn’t sound too appetising, does it?

I asked the people around me, and they described the taste as:

“Sweet and sour”; “Tangy but sweet and perfumed!”

My opinion would be that they are slightly sour, kind of sweet, though not cloying, gritty within a soft interior and a very fresh fruit taste.

Each taster has a unique experience quite like the fruit themselves. You could say “It tastes like feijoa and not like any other fruit, it is like a feijoa”.

What we all agree on is that the overall flavour is very distinctive and fabulous.

Feijoa bowl

Even despite the sharp tang and the fermented flavour, I tried a second feijoa and a third feijoa after my first encounter, all those years ago.  From that day forth I like many of my fellow kiwis I excitedly await each season.  For the last few years I have not had this build up, so this year I am making up for it with more than my share of scooping that luscious fruit.

If scooping isn’t your idea of fun perhaps one or two feijoa-licious caipiroskas are more your thing.

The two points I love about them is their uniqueness and seasonality. Sadly we can’t claim them as our own as they are not a native to us nor exclusive to New Zealand.

Some reasons why they may never be mainstream because they’re just not meant to be:

1. They require warm to sub-tropical conditions to grow.

2. This unique fruit arrives within a tiny window of time where the feijoa is fully ripe and eatable.

3. The ripe fruit is very prone to bruising, meaning feijoas are not exportable.

The above reasons are why feijoas will never become mainstream.  The other very charming aspect that makes me fall in love even more with the feijoa is its strict seasonality.  Familiarity can never breed contempt.

After hours of sunshine riping up just perfectly and making their appearance only once a year, how can we not love the feijoa? With their plopping sound as they hit the ground for us to pick them up?

Local sun-kissed fruit is always a winner for me and combined with a rare beauty makes it even better. The feijoa is a prime example highlighting the quality of locally grown, seasonal food. A whole country, a slight exaggeration, is celebrating its season and looking forward to it perhaps as much as an All Blacks match.

I have wondered on more than one occasion why we don’t celebrate and value more fruit and vegetables like we do with the feijoa? There are even festivals for goodness sakes. By doing this, we appreciate what we have and what nature has given us. By doing this may be more of us will take up a more critical stance on imported fruit and veggies.

Standing in a European or an American supermarket, is it vital to buy potatoes from say any other country than your own? Or, standing in a New Zealand store, should we go for pineapple from Ecuador when it is apricot or peach season here? There are more local or regional choices of similar fruit if we look hard enough. With the chances of being more fresh and yummy.  Though perhaps not as exotic for those who want something completely different.

The crucial point, in my opinion, is that we need to be aware of our buying power. Ask ourselves do we really need to buy that overseas product? It is not an easy decision when other considerations come into it, like a budget or wanting something new.

Each step we take in buying locally has got to be a positive step in the right direction. You can imagine that the feijoa would be proud as punch to serve as a role model.

The Fabulous Feijoa_

37 thoughts on “The Fabulous Feijoa”

  1. I’ve never had a feijoa but they look yummy! Though I tend to be cautious with new to me fruits because of allergies.
    And can only agree about buying local products!! One of many steps to a healthier living and a must when wanting to be eco-friendly. Of course, what can make this difficult are that they are usually pricier than imported fruits and veggies. 😯

    Liked by 4 people

  2. Yummy!! Feijoas!! I’ve actually got a tree growing here at Glen Forrest Sue!! It’s only about half my height at the moment but it’s growing & one day they will be MINE….. all MINE!!!!

    Liked by 4 people

  3. Well, I learned something new today. Thanks Suzanne. I had never heard of this fruit before. I do love to try local foods, especially produce, when I travel. So if I’m ever in New Zealand, I hope I’m lucky enough to be there during feijoa season!

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  4. Hi Suzanne, this is so interesting. I’ve never heard of this fruit, although I understand why if they aren’t exportable. Such an interesting fruit, thank you for writing about it, I’ve learnt something new 😊. I think they look a little like figs

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  5. Some of us once thought Kiwi fruit exotic 🙂 🙂 I suspect this is an acquired taste, but I’m a firm believer in buying locally and in season too, Suzanne. Here feijoada is a bean. I wonder if there’s any connection.

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  6. Hi Suzanne, like many I’ve never heard of Feijoas before but I’m always up for new tastes. I like the idea of combining with peanut butter which makes me think of peanut butter and jam sandwiches LOL:) Thanks for giving me something to learn about today and also for joining us at #MLSTL. Next time I’m in NZ I will see if I can try one. x

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  7. We have three feijoa trees (we call them pineapple guavas) growing in our backyard so I guess they also thrive in Southern California! After all our winter rain, the beautiful pink and red flowers promised an abundance of fruit later in the summer. Unfortunately, the birds have discovered the flowers (which are edible) so I don’t know if we’ll end up with any. Several years ago, my husband tried to make a jelly out of the fruit by canning it, but it didn’t work very well (but we discovered that the canned fruit worked well as a topping on chicken and pork). I would love to have some recipes just in case we actually end up with enough fruit this year. Enjoy your feijoa season!

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    1. Hi Janis, I didn’t realise that the flowers were eaten by the birds! Though they bruise easily and are more likely too rot before anything else happens to them. So picking them off the ground as soon as they drop is important. A topping on chicken and pork would’ve tasted delicious. I was very productive and produced a few jars of chutney which Les really enjoyed and so did I. We are basically finished our feijoa season now it is all about eating citrus fruit. Enjoy your spring.


  8. I had never heard of this fruit, probably because it’s NZ and no exportable. However, I am a huge fan of eating whatever is locally in season. It’s spring here, so asparagus and spring onions are easy to find at local markets. Soon… strawberries. Nothing as exotic as feijoa! voting from #MLSTL

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  9. Hi Suzanne, I felt like you did, when I first tried a fresh fig in the Republic of Georgia. I wasn’t sure about the taste, at first. Now, I can’t wait until they are in season again. Thanks for introducing me to the feijoa fruit. Interesting post. Thanks for sharing.

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  10. See now you’ve made me really curious to try one, but given I share your concerns about shopping local (and seasonal) that seems unlikely unless I hop on a plan to NZ (which would kind of undermine the shop locally principle). Perhaps, someone with greener fingers than me can develop a Cumbrian strain!

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  11. Just when you think you’re aware of the majority of fruits out there … up pops another one! LOL I had never heard of the feijoa! I would definitely try it though and will seek it out if I ever get to NZ. 🙂

    Liked by 4 people

    1. Great that you found another fruit to add to your knowledge base, I did smile when I read about a new one popping up 🙂 Arrive in autumn and there will be an abundance of them. Especially if you stay with a local 🙂


    1. Hi Natalie, they are nothing like a guava in taste, and not so sure about the shape. Definitely originate from South America. I have certainly had plenty to eat this year, I missed having them while in the Northern Hemisphere.


  12. I’ve never tried them. They look delicious though. At the risk of sounding like an ‘eejit’ and very un-inquisitive in the grocery section of the supermarket – can we buy them in South West Australia do you think? Do they grow here?

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  13. Yum! From my 6 feijoa trees, I’ll be lucky to get 100 fruit. We sit in a frost prone valley that I don’t think the like. Thank goodness for friends and family who have more than they can use.

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  14. I think I might like them. I don’t have a sweet tooth, so that wouldn’t be a problem. I also like eating things in season. Next month I’ll be eating strawberries most days for three weeks 🙂

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    1. Yummy strawberries 😊 The best berries we ever brought were in Spain. The blueberries were exceptional. Having said that Les’s auntie and uncle grow blueberries and they’re always tasty! Enjoy the spring fruit. Perhaps one day you’ll get to try a feijoa 😊

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Unfortunately, feijoas don’t have a long shelf life, hence the high price and the lack of them in the supermarkets. Yes, there is nothing like a feijoa a very distinctive taste and texture. I think they could come under a fruit that has” lovers and haters” and nothing in between.

      Liked by 1 person

  15. Fab post! Isn’t Day I discover a new fruit is a good day, I’ve never heard of this, so I have a tingle and you are totally spot on about buying local seasonal food too.

    WP is acting up with the ‘like’ button again which is a shame as I like this a lot. I shall be sharing widely x

    Liked by 6 people

    1. Thanks Sonia, that is lovely to read. Not sure what is going on with the likes, though more importantly is the time you took to write me a comment. So cheers for that 🙂 Pleased I introduced you to the famous feijoa. I think I am nearing my fill of them this season!

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