We have five feijoa trees*. We planted three when our son was born (we have this habit of planting fruit trees to celebrate the birth of a child), and then my Dad gave us two more as a birthday present. We didn’t complain, surely you can’t have too many feijoa trees. The trees are technically still babies at 3 years old, however, each new year our feijoa harvest doubles in size. This year we are getting enough to eat our hearts full and even preserve some for winter.
Every afternoon it is the children’s task is to head out to the chicken run, which doubles as an orchard, to collect the fallen feijoas and eggs from the chook house. They know not to pick the feijoas off the tree, learned the hard way when impatience led to trying a hard sour fruit straight from the tree. It is the perfect job really for little able bodies so much closer to the ground. And the reward is they get to choose the biggest fruit to eat once they have completed their task. With many of our feijoas being on the ginormous end of the feijoa-size-spectrum, they are two happy campers.
So all the little feijoas get left in the fruit bowl to be scooped and frozen or made into my favourite chutney. Once you eat feijoa chutney you are kind of spoiled forever as it really is the best chutney around…
And for those reading this from other lands, feijoas are native to Central America, aka pineapple guava / guavasteen. Whomever had the genius to try their luck at growing them in New Zealand I love you the world over. They are heavenly fruit, sweet and juicy with a unique perfume that has you reaching for more. We have friends who plan their trip to New Zealand just so they can be here during feijoa season. That is how good they are.
*The varieties we grow are Kaiteri, Apollo and Anatoki.
This is my go-to chutney recipe that I often make in autumn when we have excess fruit on hand. Here I have used feijoa and pear as the base fruit however any combination of autumn fruit can be used. The pear adds pectin to help set the chutney without loads of added sugar.
1 kg scooped feijoa flesh
1 kg pears or apples; peeled, cored and roughly chopped into 1cm dice
2 medium onions, finely chopped
4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
3cm piece fresh ginger, peeled and roughly chopped
1 cup raisins or sultanas
1/2 cup unrefined sugar; muscovado, rapadura, coconut sugar
1 teaspoon sea salt
1 teaspoon mixed spice
1/2 cup malt or apple cider vinegar
- In a large pot combine all the ingredients. Leave to stand for an hour to infuse the flavours and soften the fruit.
- Bring to a gentle boil. Simmer on a low heat for 1 1/2 hours until thickened - it will thicken more as it cools.
- Carefully spoon the hot chutney into hot sterilised jars. Screw on the lids and leave to cool on a wooden board. Store chutney in a cool, dark place for up to a year. Once opened keep refrigerated.
Find tips on preserving and sterilising jars HERE