One of the absolute best parts about travel is food. That’s why chefs are a fairly well traveled bunch. I generally find that things taste better if eaten where they originate – like collard greens in the South or (I assume) Guinness in Dublin. And some things you can only get in certain parts of the world. Insert the feijoa.
Like the beginning of the word Fiji + the name Noah, but with a J. For some reason I have a hard time saying this correctly. I keep wanting to say it like “fuh-JOah.” Fail.
We began seeing this word on menus the moment we set foot in New Zealand. Feijoa ice cream, feijoa soda, feijoa chutney… it is everywhere. Often times it’s combined with apple, which lead me to believe it must not have a very pronounced flavor on its own. We also saw them in the produce aisle in the grocery, but shied away from them, not quite knowing how to eat it.
What is it?
Also know as the pineapple guava, the feijoa is a member of the myrtle family. It is native to South America, found in the highlands of Brazil and parts of Paraguay, Uruguay, Argentina and even Colombia. As it is an evergreen shrub, its often used as an ornamental tree, as well as for its fruit.
Our most recent AirBnB host left a bowl of lemons and feijoas from her garden on the kitchen table for us. Don’t you just love AirBnB?
Once I had access to them, it didn’t take long for me to (finally) look into how to eat it.
There’s really nothing to it.
Cut it in half around its equator.
Scoop out the flesh with a spoon.
It is a really interesting fruit, unlike any other I’ve had before. Its flavor is subtle, a bit sweet and a bit tart. I could detect hints of green apple and a bit of pineapple (maybe why its called a pineapple guava?). Honestly though, I wouldn’t say that it really tasted like either of those. It also has a tinge of spearmint – almost medicinal. That sounds not great, but its really quite nice. The minty-ness hovers in the background and adds complexity that is missing in most mainstream fruits.
I might be a little obsessed with them now. We’ll definitely not be walking past them in the store from here on. They’re just so easy to eat. Feijoas are really the perfect fruit for van living. With the most minimal prep the skins basically act like their own little biodegradable fruit cup.