Feijoa, also known as pineapple guava, is a sweet, juicy and delicious fruit of South-American origin. The fruit and 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, rose apple and allspice are other closely related plants in the Myrtaceae family.
Scientific name: Acca sellowiana.
|Feijoa fruit on A. sellowiana tree. Courtesy: Briweldon|
Acca sellowiana is an evergreen shrub that reaches about 8–15 feet in height and spreads out into a large bush. Its oval-shaped, thick, fleshy, deep-green leaves feature a 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 weighs 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 or pineapple and guava (and hence, the name pineapple guava). If not consumed, the whole fruit would perish rather soon unless preserved.
Inside, it features a central, jelly 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 well-being, free from illnesses.
The fruit is a 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 an excellent 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.
|Principle||Nutrient Value||% of RDA|
|Total Fat||0.6 g||2%|
|Dietary Fiber||6.4 g||17%|
|Pantothenic acid||0.223 mg||2.5%|
|Vitamin A||6 IU||<1%|
|Vitamin C||32.9 mg||55%|
|Vitamin E||0.16 mg||1%|
|Vitamin K||3.5 µg||3%|
|Lutein + zeaxanthin||27 µg||--|
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. They should emit a distinctively 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 mature and ripen, feijoa perishes early if stored outside at room temperature for more than two days. If not consumed soon, it should be kept in the refrigerator for up to 1-2 days. In the deep freezer, however, they can keep safe for a couple of months.
|Feijoa fruit cut section. Courtesy: Pingked|
To prepare, select the fresh, ripe fruit. Gently wet and mop dry. Cut the fruit into halves using a paring knife. Scoop the juicy pulp using a spoon as you do in case of sapodilla. Its flesh features a sweet, sour taste, with a 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 to salads.
It can be added in the confectionary in muffins, and cakes.
It can be used in the preparation of puree, jellies, jams, chutnyes, 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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Further reading and Resources:
Stanford School of Medicine Cancer information Page- Nutrition to Reduce Cancer Risk.