Friday, April 22, 2011

The Best Fruit You've Never Eaten

New Zealand doesn't have many unique, homegrown treats. (Who does, these days, what with global instanteneity and all?) There are unique elements of the landscape (the kiwibirds and the equally reviled and beloved kea). And there are plenty of qualitative distinctions in the food world. But the feijoa really is unique.

The center is a sweet jelly punctuated with soft seeds, surrounded by a faintly gritty pulp. You eat it by cutting it in half and scooping it out, one bite per half, where it lands on your tongue with any number of flavors. Guava? Banana? Peach? All sorta kinda, but really it's just...feijoa.

Anyway, this is the season, and bags of them are landing on our kitchen counter from people whose trees are going crazy. Feijoa jam, feijoa-apple crisp, or mainly, just one feijoa after another, viz:

That's my pile. It never occurred to me that another fruit would ever compete with my ability to consume watermelon, but they go down so easy...

PS I say that it's unique and particular to New Zealand, but that's not quite true. A year or two ago we were in Berkeley Bowl and there, at the top of a bin, cradled in a shrine-like basket, were half a dozen wan-looking feijoas, crowned by a sign: $3. But we had to share this with our friends--well, our GOOD friends, anyway--so we took a couple to the checkout...only to learn that they weren't $3 a pound, but $3 APIECE.

1 comment:

  1. Feijoa, schmeijoa...These fruit are one of those natural creations that polarizes people on their taste orientations, and I for one would rather use them to throw at the neighbours cat, than to be digested. I can't help think that the aroma, and perhaps the shape, reminds me of stick-deodorant which really isn't one to generate thoughts of pleasure...then I recall (as its been awhile) but the flesh has a crystalised/gritty texture which even after baking in an apple and feijoa cake...still remains BUT again, thats the beauty of them. They are 'unique'.

    People love or hate them...and to the few that sit on the fence without a culinary view, watch out for the flying feijoa's :-)

    Let us know how 'you' feel.