Sunday, 19 April 2015

Feijoa - Autumn's delicious bounty. Plus some easy recipes

Feijoa harvest
Autumn is my favourite season.  In New Zealand it brings still sunny days, mild temperatures and, in Auckland,  a stunning glass like harbour reflecting a clear azure sky.   It is perfect weather to be out walking, admiring the russet and golden leaves falling from the trees and, above all, for eating feijoas.  I love feijoas so anticipate their season with relish each year.  I gorge on them, make jam, chutney, sauces with them, or simply scoop out their flesh to freeze  ready for lots of warm wintery crumbles to be eaten with ice cream or custard.  Hmmmmm, my mouth is watering just thinking about it.

Jelly like in the centre and slightly gritty around the edge
The exotic flavoured feijoa, sometimes known as pineapple guava, is a native of South America which thrives in the New Zealand climate.  Few New Zealand children grow up without a feijoa tree in their back yard and a ready supply of free fruit just waiting to be eaten.  Feijoa fruit matures in autumn and is ready to eat when it has fallen from the tree. When ripe it is about the size of an egg with opaque flesh in the middle, which becomes jelly like when ripe, and a slightly gritty outer flesh near the skin.  The most popular way to eat a feijoa is to cut it in half and scoop the flesh out with a spoon. It is perfect on cereal for breakfast and handy and compact in a lunch box, although as far as I'm concerned one feijoa is never enough.
My Roasted Feijoa Chutney and clear, golden, Feijoa Jelly

I have spent the last week in my kitchen cooking up a storm.  I have made feijoa jelly, roasted feijoa chutney and feijoa sauce.  I have also frozen pulped feijoas and, of course eaten heaps along the way.

If, you are lucky enough to have any feijoas here are a couple of very easy recipes:

500gms feijoa
1/3 cup of sugar
2 tablespoons of water
50 - 75gms crystallised ginger
2 teaspoons cornflour
2 tablespoons of sherry or ginger wine
1. Place first 4 ingredients in a microwave proof bowl, cover and cook for 5 minutes, stirring well after 3 minutes
2. Mix cornflour with wine and cook another 2 minutes to thicken.  Total cooking time 7 minutes
This is delicious over ice cream and can be frozen for later use.

Feijoa sauce in the jug
1.Scoop out the flesh of a pile of feijoas (no set weight but try and have at least a kilo)
2.Simmer  gently in a pot until very soft . You do not need to add water as they are juicy but make sure you have the heat very low to start with.
3.Pour the pulp into a muslin cloth and hang to drip into a bowl overnight.  Do not be tempted to squeeze the bag at any stage as this will make the jelly cloudy.
4.The next day measure the juice from the bowl into a pot and add one cup of sugar for every one cup of juice.
5.Bring to the boil and boil rapidly until setting point is reached.
6.You can tell if it is at setting point by putting a teaspoon of the jelly onto a saucer and letting it cool.  Then drag your finger through the middle of the jelly. If the surface wrinkles it is ready.
7.Pour it into jars you have sterilised in the oven for half an hour at 120Degrees C
The lids can be sterilised in boiling water. Seal while still hot.
Enjoy!!  Now I must go and have my morning treat - feijoas, of course!!


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