The feijoa fruits, although appearing on the shelves every fall, have not yet become popular with Russians to the extent that they deserve it.
Feijoa is the fruit of the Acca sellowiana tree, which has historically grown in the highlands of southern Brazil, Colombia, Uruguay and northern Argentina. Now feijoa is also grown in the Caucasus and Transcaucasia (Armenia, Georgia, Abkhazia, Azerbaijan, Dagestan), in Central Asia (Turkmenistan), in the Mediterranean and Black Sea region (France, Spain, Sicily, Crimea, Krasnodar Territory), in India, the USA ( California), Australia and New Zealand. Those feijoa fruits that are sold in our country are most often from the Caucasus and Transcaucasia.
In ripe form, feijoa fruits are very tasty and fragrant, and their smell resembles a mixture of strawberries, kiwi and pineapple. In order for this taste and aroma to fully manifest itself, the fruits must be ripe, however feijoa matures perfectly during storage.
Useful properties of feijoa Feijoa is the only plant that can be compared with seafood in terms of iodine content. A unique property of feijoa fruits grown under natural conditions is the presence of water-soluble iodine compounds in them (up to 40 m per 100 g of pulp). They owe this to the sea breezes, which carry flying iodine. So the true value is represented by the fruits grown under the real sun at the real sea.
In both scientific and traditional medicine, feijoa fruits are used for thyroid disease. They are also recommended for use in hypo- and vitamin deficiency C, inflammatory diseases of the gastrointestinal tract, gastritis, pyelonephritis. In addition, feijoa fruits fresh, boiled or mashed with sugar are very useful for people suffering from atherosclerosis.
Feijoa contain a large amount of vitamin C, sucrose, pectin, fiber. Feijoa even surpasses other berries in their number.
The feijoa peel is in principle edible and, moreover, very useful, as it contains phenolic compounds – catechins and leukoanthocyanins. These biologically active substances are powerful antioxidants that help prevent cancer. But, having a tart, astringent taste, the peel spoils the taste of the product. Therefore, if you want to use feijoa with the maximum benefit, you can do simple: peel the fruits, dry the peel and brew it with tea, so that not a single antioxidant disappears. Or wipe the feijoa with the peel through a meat grinder and stir mix with sugar. Store in the refrigerator for a week or two.
Species and varieties
In gastronomic terms, different varieties of feijoa slightly differ from each other.
The very first feijoa variety, which became known to Europeans, was brought from Brazil in 1890 by the famous French botanist Eduard Andre and planted on the Riviera. In 1897, the plant produced its first crop, and in 1898, Dr. Andre published a description of the plant, flowers, and fruits. This variety is named after him – Andre. This variety is known both in the Mediterranean and in the USA (California).
Three more varieties were also bred in California, which were also relatively widespread: Choiseana is an early ripening variety with large (up to 6–7 cm), dark green fruits; Coolidge – also with large smooth fruits; Superba – pear-shaped or rounded fruits, very large (up to 60-80 g).
In South India, the feijoa variety Besson is known – it has fruits from small to medium, oval, soft; the surface is green with a reddish or burgundy hue.
Those feijoa fruits that are sold in our country are most often from the Caucasus and Transcaucasia. The feijoa varieties that are grown in this region are mostly bred by Russian breeders (Nikitsky fragrant, Early Crimean, Svetly, Nikitsky tuberous, Firstborn).
How to cook
Compote, lemonade, salads, meat sauces, pastries, jam, jam can be prepared from peeled feijoa fruits. The easiest way is to pass the feijoa through a meat grinder and fill it with sugar (for 1 kg of feijoa 0.7-1 kg of sugar, and if stored at room temperature, then up to 2 kg of sugar). You can use honey instead of sugar. This “raw” jam is very useful for enhancing immunity.
The time of active fruiting of feijoa falls on November-December. Feijoa appear on the markets at the end of October and lie until the beginning of next year.
How to choose and store
In ripe form, feijoa fruits are very tasty and fragrant, and their smell resembles a mixture of strawberries and pineapple. In order for this taste and aroma to fully manifest itself, the fruits must be ripe, and ripe fruits cannot be transported. But, if you buy feijoa not in the Krasnodar Territory, but in the more northern regions of Russia, this parameter should not be taken into account: feijoa matures perfectly during storage.
If you bought solid fruits, wait patiently until they become soft to the touch. Then the feijoa flesh will become like jelly and gain a real taste and aroma. And the beneficial properties of “artificial” ripening, according to experts, are not lost.
If the temperature is too high, the fruit turns brown and rots after a few days, although it can be completely invisible from the outside. In a cool room and in the refrigerator, fruits are stored for a month or more.
Feijoa can be frozen: in the freezer, the fruits will be stored for at least six months. Sun-dried feijoa are well stored in a dry room. Well, the most popular way to keep healthy fruit until spring is to wipe it with sugar.