Question: What is the nutritional content of the pineapple guava (feijoa sellowiana) ? When we bought our home, we inherited 12 mature pineapple guava bushes. They are now dropping fruit all over the ground. Help! How can we preserve them? Any additional information on this fruit will be appreciated.
Answer: We were unable to get a complete nutritional breakdown for feijoas (commonly called pineapple guavas), but according to Judi Greening of Frieda's Finest Produce, 3 1/2 ounces, or 100 grams, of the fruit contains 28 milligrams of Vitamin C, 0.82 grams protein, 4.24 grams carbohydrate and 0.24 grams fat. "Sunset Fresh Produce--A to Z" (Lane Publishing, 1987) says "feijoas have about 35 calories per 3 1/2-ounce serving."
In "Uncommon Fruits & Vegetables--A Commonsense Guide" (Harper & Row, 1986), author Elizabeth Schneider advises: "Once they are ripened, you can store \o7 feijoas \f7 in the refrigerator for a day or two. Or puree the raw fruit and freeze." She suggests using the uncooked fruit puree for making ices, ice creams and mousses, particularly when blended with oranges, ginger, papaya, banana, strawberries and lime.
Schneider also provides a recipe for cooked puree, which may be "served as is, or to accompany vanilla or fruit ice cream, a light sponge cake or gingerbread. The sweet, intense sauce goes a long way--so use sparingly. Or make the puree to serve as a base for ice cream, sorbet, tart filling or souffle."
1 cup sugar
1 cup water
2 pounds ripe feijoas
Combine sugar and water in non-aluminum saucepan large enough to hold fruit. Bring to boil.
Halve \o7 feijoas \f7 crosswise and scoop out pulp with melon-ball cutter, avoiding any bright green parts of skin, which are bitter. Add to syrup and return to boil, stirring. Remove from heat, place light weight on fruit to keep submerged, and cool.
Puree thoroughly, in batches, in blender of food processor. Press mixture through fine sieve. Refrigerate up to 1 week or freeze up to 6 months. Makes about 2 1/2 cups.
For those unfamiliar with the pineapple guava or \o7 feijoa, \f7 Schneider gives the following background: "Although it is native to South America (the fruit is named after a Senor Feijo, once a director of the National History Museum in Spain; the \o7 sellowiana \f7 is for Herr Sello, a German explorer of South America), like a number of fruits that are part of today's marketplace the subtropical \o7 feijoa \f7 is exported primarily from New Zealand (a small crop is raised in California), where it has been cultivated since the beginning of the century.
"Difficult to pin down, the scent and taste of the elongated, egg-shaped (and -sized) \o7 feijoa \f7 (fay-JO-a or fay-YO-a) suggest pineapple, quince, spruce and Concord grapes--touched with lemon and menthol. The slightly bumpy, thin skin ranges from lime-green to olive. It encloses cream-to-tan granular, medium-soft flesh that surrounds a jellyish central cavity set with minute seeds. The taste is tart and perfumy, the texture gritty (but pleasantly, like pears) and dense," says Schneider.
Since the unripe fruit is very acidic and sometimes bitter, it should not be eaten until it feels like a firm plum or soft pear. To ripen, leave the fruit at room temperature for a few days or speed up the process by placing it in a closed paper bag with an apple.