Feijoa, also known as pineapple guava, is a delicious fruit of South-American origin. The fruit as well as its products are widely popular in Brazil, Argentina, Bolivia in South America and New Zealand in the Oceania. Botanically, it is a small tree or a shrub in the family of Myrtaceae. Guava and allspice are other closely related plants in the Myrtaceae family.
Scientific name: Acca sellowiana
|Feijoa fruit on A. sellowiana tree.
Photo courtesy: Briweldon
Acca sellowiana is an evergreen shrub that reaches about 8–15 feet in height and spread out into a broad bush. Its oval shaped, thick, fleshy, deep-green leaves feature gray surface underneath. The plant bears attractive golden-yellow flowers with white petals and long maroon color stamen. After about 5 to 6 months of flowering, fruits ready to eat cover all over the bush.
Feijoa fruit is oval in shape and closely resembles unripe medium-size deep-green guava from a distance. It measures about 1/5 to 2.5 inches in length, 2 inches in diameter, and weigh about 50 g. Once ripe, the fruit drops off from the tree which is gathered and eaten immediately. It emanates sweet fruity aroma that reminiscences blend of banana and pineapple. If not consumed, the whole fruit would perish early unless preserved.
Inside, it features central, gelly textured seed pulp surrounded by soft, grey-white flesh. Its flesh is sweet, somewhat tart, and strongly aromatic. Although its skin is edible as in guava, it generally discarded.
Feijoas are low in calories; 100 g of fresh fruit holds only 55 calories. Nonetheless, they are low fat, cholesterol-free fruits loaded with vitamins, and antioxidants that assure you a healthy state of wellbeing, free from illnesses.
The fruit is very rich source of soluble dietary fiber (6.4 g per 100 g of fruit, about 17% of DRA), which makes it a good bulk laxative. The fiber content helps protect the colon mucous membrane by decreasing exposure time to toxins as well as binding to cancer-causing chemicals in the colon.
Feijoa fruit is a good source of antioxidant vitamin-C. 100 g fresh fruit provides 32.9 mg of this vitamin, about 55% of DRI (daily-recommended intake). Vitamin C is a water-soluble antioxidant that works well against viral illness through immune-boosting means. Regular consumption of fruits rich in vitamin C helps the human body develop resistance against infectious agents and scavenge cancer causing harmful free radicals from the body.
Feijoa contains small proportions B-complex vitamins such as pantothenic acid, niacin, vitamin-B6 (pyridoxine), and vitamin E and K, as well as minerals like calcium, magnesium, copper, and manganese.
Feijoa season varies from place to place. In Brazil, they hit the market by late March and available until July. In New Zealand, their season lasts from March to June although available in the supermarkets for extended periods.
In the stores, look for fresh arrivals. Select dark green, ellipsoid shaped fruits emitting distinctive fruity aroma that can be appreciable from a distance. Look carefully for bruises, cuts and surface blemishes and avoid them. The fruit is said to be ripe when it just yields to gentle thumb press.
Once ripe, feijoa perish early if kept outside at room temperature for longer than 2 days. If not consumed soon, the fruit should be kept inside the refrigerator for upto 1-2 days. In the deep freezer, however, they can keep safe for couple of months.
|Feijoa fruit cut section. Note for on Feijoa sellowiana
Photo courtesy: Pingked
To prepare, select the fresh, ripe fruit. Gently mop dry. Gently mop dry. Cut the fruit into two halves using a paring knife. Scoop the juicy pulp using a spoon as you do in case of sapodilla. Its flesh features sweet, sour taste, with sandy texture. Its skin, although edible, is generally discarded.
Here are some serving tips:
Eat the fruit out of hand to enjoy its natural flavor and unique taste.
It can be juiced to a delicious drink.
Its aromatic slices can be a great addition in salads.
It can be added in the confectionary in muffins, and cakes.
It can be used in the preparation of puree, jellies, jams, chutnies, juices, sorbet, etc.
Feijoa fruit consumption has no known adverse effects on human health. Pregnant mothers and infants can safely eat this fruit. (Medical disclaimer).
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