Pronounced “fey-yoh-uh,” this subtropical fruit begins to shine through the mid-fall season. Most commonly referred to as “pineapple guavas” locally, feijoa fruit is sourced for its sweet soft flesh and semi-tangy skin.
Originating in several areas throughout South America, this seasonal fruit has settled quite well in our immediate area. The shrub-like trees do require a very minimal amount of winter chill to get an appropriate level of fruit set, but out local climate is really the key to ensuring the plants success.
Feijoa can be enjoyed as you would an apple, skin and all, for that wonderful balance of sweet and tangy.
You know this exotic fruit is ready to eat when they deliver a very slight give to touch, like that of a firm-ripe avocado. If the tangy skin, which has subtle notes of bitterness, is not for you, cut the fruit in half and scoop the sweet portion out with a spoon. You will encounter a small seed and membrane pocket throughout the central portion of the fruit but is hardly noticeable when eating.
In addition to them eating as they come, pineapple guavas can be enjoyed in a smoothie, incorporated into a host of baked goods, and pair quite nicely with fish dishes. I have also made a tasty feijoa Pico de Gallo salsa in the past which really offers a unique balance of flavor. This week I prepared a fresh feijoa, pomegranate, and persimmon salad. Add some fresh squeezed lime juice, cilantro, mint and thinly sliced jalapeno to round it out.
Sam Edelman is general manager of the Santa Barbara Certified Farmers Market Association and host of “Farm to Table,” which airs live 9 a.m. Thursdays on KZSB AM 1290.
FEIJOA, POMEGRANATE AND PERSIMMON SALAD
8-10 ripe feijoa fruit, sliced in half
1 pomegranate, seeds removed, husk and membrane discarded
2 medium ripe Fuyu persimmons, diced
Juice from 2 limes
¼ cup fresh cilantro leaves, coarsely chopped
¼ cup fresh mint leaves, finely chopped
1 jalapeno pepper, sliced into very thin rounds (adjust amount based on heat of pepper)
Drizzle of olive oil
Pinch of salt
Scoop your feijoa flesh out with a spoon and cut into quarters. In a mixing bowl combine pomegranate seeds, persimmon, lime juice, cilantro, mint, olive oil and salt and toss together. Then gently toss in feijoa. Serve chilled. Serves 4 sides.