feijoa

Pronunciation: [fay-YOH-ah; fay-JOH-ah]

This small, egg-shaped fruit is native to South America, though New Zealand is now a major exporter and California cultivates a small crop. It's also referred to as a pineapple guava, and is often mislabeled in produce sections as guava. A thin, bright green skin surrounds the feijoa's exceedingly fragrant, cream-colored flesh that encases a jellylike center. The flavor is complex, with sweet notes of quince, pineapple and mint. New Zealand feijoas are available from spring to early summer; those from California reach the market in the fall. Choose fruit that has a rich, perfumy fragrance and gives slightly to the touch. Ripen by placing it in a paper bag with an apple for several days at room temperature. Ripe feijoas can be refrigerated 3 to 5 days. Before using, remove the slightly bitter peel. Feijoas are naturals in fruit salads, desserts and as garnishes. They contain a fair amount of vitamin C.

From The Food Lover's Companion, Fourth edition by Sharon Tyler Herbst and Ron Herbst. Copyright © 2007, 2001, 1995, 1990 by Barron's Educational Series, Inc.

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