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Feijoas or Pineapple Guavas

Updated on March 16, 2015

Delicious Pineapple Guavas or Feijoas from my backyard --make great desserts

Feijoas, pineapple guavas or guavasteen are dropping from the trees in our backyard faster than we can eat them. Although commonly called pineapple guavas, feijoas are not true guavas but belong to the Myrtle family. Feijoas are a native to South America but are commercially grown in New Zealand and California, with the former being the biggest producer of feijoas.

These delicious green gems are ready to be enjoyed between October and November and can be very addicting. The jelly-like pulp is sweet, translucent and juicy. Try the feijoa cake which is perfect for the holidays.

Let me walk you through my yard and show you how the feijoa takes center stage this time of the year.

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German botanist Otto Karl Berg named Feijoa after João da Silva Feijó, a Brazilian botanist.

Feijoa shrubs in our backyard in Spring - Serve as wind barrier and privacy screen from neighbors

Photo Source: Bakerwoman

The feijoa shrub Acca sellowiana is a slow-growing evergreen (does not lose its leaves in the winter) with straggly branches and thick leathery leaves. The leaves are green on the top and silvery underneath. There are three feijoa shrubs planted in a partial shaded location along the fence which protects them from the hot sun. This location also keeps the feijoas from getting sunburn.

Mid-May - Edible Feijoa flowers attract birds like magnets - First come first served

Photo taken by Bakerwoman May 10, 2013

In late Spring, between May and June, the showy flowers of the feijoa shrubs appear with bright red stamens topped with yellow pollen which attract all kinds of birds. It is quite a sight to see our three feijoa shrubs shaking and quivering as birds peck on the flowers and hop in and out of the branches.

It is believed that birds are the chief pollinators of the feijoas but the credit really belongs to the busy bees.

Scrub jays aside from hummingbirds, robins, starlings and squirrels assist in pollination of feijoas.

Scrub jays aside from hummingbirds, robins, starlings and squirrels assist in pollination of feijoas.
Scrub jays aside from hummingbirds, robins, starlings and squirrels assist in pollination of feijoas.

Squirrel competes with the birds for feijoa flowers - Sweet treat

I caught this squirrel bouncing around the branches and happily feasting on the feijoa flowers. Pollen that brushes on the squirrel's fur are transferred to other flowers and help with pollination.This is the first time I have ever caught this little critter eating flowers.

The white petals of the feijoa flower are edible and the flower will still turn into a fruit as long as the ovaries are kept intact. These petals are a welcome addition to spring salads.

Flowers have turned into fruits - A promise of a fruitful harvest

Photo source: Bakerwoman

From June to October, the feijoas slowly develop a dull blue-green waxy skin with a texture ranging from smooth to rough. In Northern California, these will ripen late October to November, approximately 5-7 months after the flowers appear.

Feijoas are so aromatic that you will smell the fragrance long before you notice the fruits in your garden. The fruits take about 4 to 7 months to mature depending on your climate.

"Pineapple Gem" is a feijoa variety which originated from Azusa, California by Monrovia Nursery and named for its taste.

"Pineapple Gem" is a feijoa variety which originated from Azusa, California by Monrovia Nursery and named for its taste.
"Pineapple Gem" is a feijoa variety which originated from Azusa, California by Monrovia Nursery and named for its taste.

"Edenvale Supreme" feijoa from Edenvale Nurseries ripens in November and likes the cool coastal areas of California.

"Edenvale Supreme" feijoa from Edenvale Nurseries ripens in November and likes the cool coastal areas of California.
"Edenvale Supreme" feijoa from Edenvale Nurseries ripens in November and likes the cool coastal areas of California.

How do I know when feijoas are ripe?

Feijoas let you know when they are ripe. - They fall from the trees to the ground

Photo credit: Bakerwoman

For six weeks between October and November, feijoas are ready for picking--from the the ground, that is. When feijoas or pineapple guavas are ripe, they will detach from the trees and drop to the ground. This is the best way to harvest them every few days. A little breeze or a gentle shake on the branches can cause the feijoas to tumble to the ground. The waxy skin prevents the fruits from getting bruised when these drop to the ground. Usually the ground is covered with ivy to cushion the fall, but the groundcover had just been trimmed when this picture was taken.

Semi-ripe feijoas can be plucked from the trees, placed in a basket to ripen in the kitchen. This will be ready to be eaten in 3-4 days. Feijoas can be ripened in a brown paper bag at room temperature. Overly ripe feijoas will have their outer skin turn brownish.

Fortunately, squirrels do not seem to like pineapple guavas.

November harvest of delicious and nutritious feijoas come in all sizes - Fragrant and taste like a cross between pineapple, guava and strawberry

Photo source: Bakerwoman

Fall is the time of the year when my friends look forward to tasting these delicious green gems from my garden These are usually eaten raw with the skin just like apples or pears. Some people might find the skin a little bitter. Feijoa can be cut in half and the pulp scooped with a spoon and eaten. So far I have harvested 5 basketful of feijoas from my backyard this year.

Feijoas make great accompaniments for other treats. It can be added to cereal, cakes, smoothies, and a myriad of other desserts. It can make a great substitiute for apple pie assuming you can get these off season.

Ripe feijoas normally last 3-5 days.

Harvesting pineapple guava in November

First batch of huge feijoas

First batch of huge feijoas
First batch of huge feijoas

Healthy and nutritious

Feijoas are high in vitamins, boasting more lycopene than tomatoes or watermelon, the highest fiber count of any fruit (9 grams per cup!), vitamin C, and potassium.

What does a pineapple guava look and taste like? - The fragrant fruit will wakes up your senses

When cut open, the pineapple guava or feijoa has a cream-colored flesh with a sweet jelly-like center. The edible seeds are almost indistinguishable and the texture of the flesh is gritty just like that of a pear.

Pineapple guava taste like a cross between a pineapple, strawberry, and a guava. Imagine what wonderful smoothies these flavors would make. When pureed, feijoas make great jams and jellies, not to mention sorbet and ice cream. Feijoas also make great pies.

I have added the scooped up centers of the feijoa in my green salads. The sweet and tart combination of flavors created an incredible surprise to the palate.

Beggars can't be choosers

Feijoas are not the squirrels' favorite

Rarely do squirrels raid the feijoa shrubs when these are laden with fruits. Pineapple guavas might not be a favorite of the squirrels due to its bitter outer skin, but the sweet jelly-like pulp proved to be a great snack. A handful of the fruits litter the grounds, turn brown, ferment and get eaten by birds and other visitors. I snapped this picture after the furry critters scampered away and leaving the peel of the feijoa on the railing of our deck.

This easy feijoa cake with walnuts, raisins and the whiff of nutmeg and cinnamon is guaranteed to be a winner.

Step 1 - Preheat oven to 350 degrees F

Grease the bottom of 10 inch tube pan with butter and lightly dust with flour. Set aside.

Step 2 - Peel and chop feijoas

Make two cups

Choose the ripe feijoas. Peel with a paring knife and chop into small pieces. Feijoas will look like chopped Granny Smith apples.

This quick chopper can do the job in a jiffy. The third time I made the cake, I opted using this.

This quick chopper can do the job in a jiffy. The third time I made the cake, I opted using this.
This quick chopper can do the job in a jiffy. The third time I made the cake, I opted using this.

Step 3 - Add spices, sugar and nuts to feijoas

Combine in a bowl

2 cups peeled and chopped ripe feijoas

1 cup chopped walnut pieces

1 cup raisins

1 cup granulated sugar

Feijoa mixture will become watery as soon as the sugar dissolves. Raisins will plump up.

Step 4 - Beat egg and melted butter

Melt 1/2 cup butter ( 1 stick) in microwave at 50% power for 1 minute and cool.

Add 1 egg (room temperature) and beat together with a wire whip.

Add to the feijoa mixture and blend well by hand.

A minor interruption --- Mali, our calico cat, smells something good.

A minor interruption --- Mali, our calico cat, smells something good.
A minor interruption --- Mali, our calico cat, smells something good.

Step 5 - Sift dry ingredients together

Sift together

1 cup all-purpose flour

1 tsp. nutmeg

1 tsp. cinnamon

2 tsps. baking soda

Do not spoon the flour into the cup. Use the 1 cup measuring cup to scoop the flour to make sure it is packed.

.

Step 6 - Add flour mixture into the feijoa mixture

Stir dry mixture into the wet ingredients with spatula. Scrape sides and bottom of bowl to ensure the batter is mixed well. Batter will be thick.

Step 7 - Pour batter into greased tube pan

Pour batter and spread evenly. Tamp pan on the counter to make sure batter settles to the bottom of the pan to avoid air pockets from forming while baking.

Step 8 - Bake and enjoy the wonderful aroma in the kitchen

Bake in a preheated oven at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for 50-60 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool.

Step 9 - Remove cake from pan - Loosen feijoa cake from pan by running spatula along the edges

Serve and enjoy -- seconds are most welcome!

Serve and enjoy -- seconds are most welcome!
Serve and enjoy -- seconds are most welcome!

This was a hit this Thanksgiving 2012. I used chopped pecans instead of walnuts and it was even better.

Grow your own feijoas today - From the tree to the table

Feijoas have gained popularity of late and are easier to find in Farmer's markets, online catalogues and even your local produce stores.

Do you think you will like to try feijoas? - Let me know you stopped by.

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    • jlshernandez profile image
      Author

      jlshernandez 4 years ago

      @oztoo lm: I have a link to the different varieties of feijoas in this lens. This includes the ones in Australia and New Zealand.

    • maryseena profile image

      maryseena 4 years ago

      Absolutely. Wish we had it here.

    • oztoo lm profile image

      oztoo lm 4 years ago

      I have two feijoa trees but not sure what variety they are. Will have to try your recipe when the fruit is ready next. Thanks for the info and great pictures.

    • Jo-Jackson profile image

      Jo-Jackson 4 years ago

      I live in Australia so it will be quite some time until my feijoas are ready, but when they are I will try your cake recipe. Last year I only made jams and jellies