The feijoa is a small green egg-shaped fruit from 2 to 9 centimeters long that ripens in the autumn. They are native to South America where they grow in the mountains of Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay and Uruguay. They are also grown in New Zealand and southern Australia. The flesh has a gelatinous seed pulp in the center of the fruit and a firmer flesh nearer the skin which has a granular and slightly gritty texture. The taste is unique and has been compared with guava, strawberry, pineapple and kiwi fruit. Feijoas are also known as pineapple guavas and guavasteens.
Check to be sure the fruit is ripe. You cannot tell if a feijoa is ripe by looking at it because they are the same shade of green whether they are immature, ripe, overripe or rotting. Feijoa are optimal for eating when they fall from the tree. If you are buying a feijoa in a shop, give the fruit a soft squeeze, and if it is ripe it will yield to pressure. It should feel like a just-ripe banana.
Cut the feijoa in half lengthwise with a knife. The seed pulp should look clear and gelatinous. If it is turning brown it is overripe, but can still be eaten. Use a teaspoon to scoop out the flesh and pulp and eat them from the spoon. Do not eat the skin. You can also bite one end open and squeeze and suck the contents out, but this can be messy.
Feijoas can be used in fruit drinks and smoothies, jam, jellies, ice cream, yogurt, cakes, wines, tarts and chutney. Chop them up and use them in salads, salsas, fruit salads and on cereals. They can be combined with other fruits or vegetables to create dishes with complex flavor.
Hard feijoas will ripen at room temperature.