It grows on a small subtropical evergreen tree that grows up to 12 feet (3.6 metres) tall. The tree has reddish-grey bark, and leaves that are shiny green on top, whitish underneath, and 3/4 to 2 inches (2 to 5 cm) long by 1/2 to 1 1/4 inches (1 to 3 cm) wide.
The tree can be grown from seed. When grown from seed, it will need about 3 years to start producing fruit. It doesn’t always, though, grow true to see, so grafting is also practised.
It blooms with fleshy, four-petalled blossoms that are white outside, purple inside, and about an inch (2 1/2 cm) big. These blossom are edible and actually taste sweet. They can be eaten in salads, but of course, don’t count on any fruit if you do.
The fruit has sweet, very aromatic flesh inside that will be either light yellow, creamy yellow or whitish. The taste is somewhere between guava, pineapple and strawberry. Some also feel they taste some banana in it. The texture is like that of a gritty pear. The very centre of the fruit is like jelly. If the jelly is white, the fruit is not ripe yet; if the jelly is clear, the fruit is ripe; if the jelly is brown, the fruit is past it.
There are about 30 very small seeds in each fruit; you can just eat them.
Feijoa is mostly eaten as a fresh fruit. Choose firm fruit that yields somewhat to slight pressure, and that has a fragrant smell to it. It bruises easily when ripe.
Cultivars include Botali (one of the largest fruits), M-4 (one of the sweetest), Santa Elisa, Campineira, Coolidge, Superb, Choiseana, Triumph and Hehre. There are at least 11 cultivars of Feijoa in Uruguay. Two French cultivars are André and Besson.
Some varieties ripen earlier than others.
Can also be cooked with, being used for pies, jams, jellies, sauces.
Ripen in a paper bag. Once ripe, use within 3 to 5 days.
It can be stored at room temperature or in fridge.
To freeze, peel and cook into a sauce, then freeze.
Feijoa is native to parts of South America including Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay, and Uruguay.
It was introduced in 1890 to the French Cote d’Azur, and in 1990 to California.
It is now being grown in Florida, France, California and New Zealand. In fact, more is grown commercially in New Zealand than in South America (as of 2005.)
In Uruguay, called “Guayaba” or “Guayabo del país”.