Facing the Feijoa glut fearlessly

It’s not often that one gets called a Mighty Goddess of the Kitchen but it’s just happened to me.  And it was from the teenage daughter too - heady praise indeed.

And all because of the Great Feijoa Glut.

It’s that time of year again, when fecund feijoa trees carpet all available ground with their fruit.  They can be found in dank, dark places and get underfoot in the most cunning ways.

And you have to do something with them.  The first feijoa tree I can remember was in my backyard in Gisborne.  Year after year it produced massive fruit, like small grenades and yes, they did lob very satisfyingly. 

Brother John found it a nuisance, planted, as it was, in the path of the lawn mower and so he chopped it down and mowed over my little grapefruit tree for good measure.  This is the same brother who took a pickaxe to the concrete gnome cemented to the front steps – definitely an improvement but for years all that was left was a pair of black boots…

We’ve planted two feijoa trees on our property.  One was from a nearby nursery, the other, well, it has had a rough life. It grew fruit of a similar dimension to the Gisborne trees  and we wanted to take it with us when we shifted.

Friend Jim was helping prior to the big move.  We asked him to trim the tree so it wouldn’t get a huge shock being transplanted. Being a musician his hearing isn’t what it should be, and he thought we said ‘chop it down, kill it, we hate it’.

We took the poor thing with us and planted it to see what would happen.  And, bless its socks, it has gone from strength to strength.  This year it’s produced so much fruit that the tree has totally collapsed.  A good prune should see it right.

Now we are eyeballing the biggest feijoa glut ever.  There does seem to be a limit to how much can be eaten in situ and I have been experimenting with cunning ways of dealing with the excess.

Giving them away works a treat but friends now check the back seat of their cars upon departure. 

Feijoas make great muffins, of course, but an even better chutney.  But they are truly splendid when turned into a pudding that is so easy to make it’s almost criminal.  You just mix all the ingredients together and have a glass of wine while it’s baking. And it turns you into a Goddess.  Really.

Awesome Chutney 

There’s almost nothing better than a good chutney to liven up a meal.  A good fate for excessive amounts of feijoas. It’s said to keep well, but it always get consumed within days at our house.

  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 apple, peeled, chopped roughly
  • ¼ cup vinegar (I used balsamic)
  • 9 feijoas
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1 tsp pickling spice

Wash feijoas and scoop fruit into a large pan.
Place pickling spice into a muslin bag and tie top together with string
Put onion into the pan, with remaining ingredients.
Bring to the boil and simmer for about half an hour, stirring from time to time.
Put into a clean jar. 
 

Mighty Goddess Pudding 

This is divine and fills one up in the nicest possible way – it also generates the very best compliments.

  • Enough feijoas for the fruit to fill a large cup
  • 1 egg
  • 75g melted butter
  • ½ tsp grated lemon rind
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • ¾ cup sugar

Preheat oven to 180ºC.  Cut feijoas in half and scoop on to a wooden board, chop roughly and place in a bowl.
Mix flour and baking powder together in a bowl and stir in the sugar.
Pour the butter into the flour mixture, beat egg and add to butter.  Stir.
Add the lemon rind and feijoas and mix everything together.
Pour into a greased baking tin (I actually used a small casserole dish) and bake for 25 minutes, then lower temperature and cook a further half hour - keep an eye on progress however.  Serve hot from the oven with fresh cream.
 

© Annette Taylor

 

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