Try a Feijoa-Colada

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Later today I will harvest this year’s last feijoas (a.k.a., pineapple guava, or guavasteen; Acca sellowiana, syn. Feijoa sellowiana). A few I will spoon out and eat fresh, but most I will puree and pour into ice trays. The fruit comes ripe in October, but I find its robust flavor most agreeable on hot summer days, and then iced and diluted with coconut juice.

Most gardeners allow their feijoas to fall to the ground, unused. As a shrub or small tree, it makes a nice hedge or stand-alone ornamental. The fruit falls while still hard, and then needs a day or two before it softens to the touch and is ready to eat. Left on the ground, they go bad quickly, but I set mine in a box indoors until I can process them.

The fruit packs a burst of unique flavor, sometimes more than the uninitiated is prepared for, and especially when left in the skin. It compares to a citrus zest, with uses in salsas, chutneys, or sweetbreads, but even diced small in a fruit salad, I have seen plates come back to the kitchen with the feijoas pushed to the side.

However, almost daily throughout this past summer, I enjoyed a frothy mug of iced feijoa-colada, from cubes I froze this time last year. When pureeing the feijoa, skin and all, I use canned coconut juice for
any necessary liquid, and then use chilled coconut juice to blend the drink on the sweltering summer days when I am ready to enjoy it. The two flavors balance well, zesty but sweet, and require no additional ingredients.
(Note: I once offered a taste of feijoas to a class of students and two members of the class experienced minor reactions, passing about an hour in drowsiness. I searched the web for some mention of this, without seeing anything, but two students was eight percent of my sample, and their drowsiness came on rather quickly after tasting the fruit.)


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