The Feijoa, also known as Pineapple Guava, is an evergreen shrub or small tree growing 4 to 20 feet in height, originating from the highlands of southern Brazil and parts of Colombia, Uruguay and northern Argentina. It is named after botanist João da Silva Feijó, a Brazilian botanist.
The fruit, maturing in autumn, is green, ellipsoid and about the size of a chicken’s egg. It has a sweet, aromatic flavor. The flesh is juicy and is divided into a clear jelly-like seed pulp and a firmer, slightly gritty, opaque flesh nearer the skin. The fruit drops when ripe, but can be picked from the tree prior to the drop to prevent bruising.
Feijoa is usually eaten by cutting it in half, then scooping out the pulp with a spoon. The fruit have a juicy sweet seed pulp, and slightly gritty flesh nearer the skin. The flavour is aromatic and sweet. Like the closely-related guava, the fruit pulp is utilized in some natural cosmetic products as an exfoliant.
It can also be used as an interesting addition to a fruit smoothie, and can be used to make feijoa wine or cider. It is also possible to buy Feijoa yogurt, fruit drinks, jam and ice cream in New Zealand. The Feijoa can also be cooked and used in dishes where one would use stewed fruit. It is a popular ingredient in chutney.
Fruit maturity is not always apparent from the outside as the fruits remain green until they are over-mature or rotting. Once the seed pulp and surrounding flesh start to brown, the fruit is over-mature but still can be eaten. However, these over-mature but not rotten fruits can be used to make a delicious juice very popular in the Colombian Highlands.
Feijoa has been spotted in Georgia and both flowering and fruiting in Louisiana, South Carolina, Texas and California. It is widely cultivated as a garden plant and fruiting tree in New Zealand, and can be found as a garden plant in Australia, Israel and China. The shrub has very few insect pests. In northern California, robins, mockingbirds, hummingbirds, starlings, scrub jays, towhees and grey squirrels feast on the flowers and assist with pollination.