Home News New Zealanders are obsessed with this fruit. This is not kiwi.

New Zealanders are obsessed with this fruit. This is not kiwi.

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Autumn in New Zealand heralds the arrival of an egg-sized green fruit that falls from the trees in such abundance that people often deliver it to neighbors and colleagues in buckets or even wheelbarrows. Only in extreme desperation do people buy.

The fresh fruit, whose flesh is tough, jelly-like, and creamy, is used in muffins, cakes, jams and smoothies, and it starts appearing on high-end menus every March – the start of autumn in the southern hemisphere. . During the off-season, it’s found in everything from juice and wine to yogurt and kombucha to chocolate and popcorn.

This ubiquitous fruit is feijoa (pronounced Fee-jo-ah). Known as pineapple guava in the United States, it was first introduced to New Zealand from South America via France and California in the early 1900s.

Even for die-hard fans, its rich flavor is difficult to describe. But it’s easy to point out that, like the kiwi and native bird the kiwi, which originated in China, the feijoa has become a quintessential symbol of New Zealand or New Zealand for many people here. Aboriginal Maori language.

“Even though it’s not from New Zealand, it definitely connects me to modern New Zealand. Pataka“Modern pantry,” says Monique Fiso, a chef of Maori and Samoan descent who has worked in top New York restaurants for more than five years.Now back in New Zealand, she is a Pioneer of modern Polynesian cuisine and often serves feijoa to her customers.

“It’s certainly one of my favorite fruits, especially when we make sorbet because it’s so refreshing,” she said. “There are so many uses for feijoa – you can bake with them, you can make ice cream with them, you can make jam with them. There’s something delicious about them, too.”

She warns not every New Zealander is a fan of feijoa. Sometimes customers will specify “just no feijoa” when booking. This was a feeling she couldn’t understand. “I think it’s kind of crazy,” she said. “I thought, what’s your problem? They’re the greatest fruit ever!”

For fans, there’s nothing like the fall experience of eating an entire bucket of freshly fallen fruit.

“You can cut it in half and eat it with a spoon, or you can bite it open with your teeth and suck out the contents,” says David Farrier, a New Zealand film producer and journalist who lives in Los Angeles. Some said thoughtfully.

He often tried to explain Feijoa to confused Americans.

“I’d say it’s about the size of an egg – imagine a green egg with a little hat on top,” he said. “Taste? Honestly, it tastes like feijoa. If you haven’t had a feijoa, you’re missing out.”

Fiji fruit has been compared to guava (a distant relative) and to a mixture of pineapple and strawberry. Long before the craft beer revolution, a 1912 American newspaper article declared: “A beer drinker thinks about beer. But a pineapple guava eater thinks pineapple, raspberry and banana all at the same time.”

In New Zealand, however, people may drink beer and think of feijoa.Last year, 8 Wired’s Wild Feijoa 2022 Feijoa Sour beat out more than 800 other beers to win the award. Win the top prize at the National Beer Awards. Its winemaker, Soren Eriksen, is originally from Denmark but has lived in New Zealand for nearly two decades. He quickly became fond of feijoa.

“I love their skins and stuff,” he says, adding that the rich Fijian skins give his award-winning Belgian-style lambic beer a special flavor. “I wanted to do something traditional but also very New Zealand.”

Feijoa originates from Uruguay, the southern highlands of Brazil and the northern tip of Argentina. But they thrive in most parts of New Zealand, growing easily with little care and encountering few pests, so they quickly integrated into local diets.

Rohan Bicknell is an Australian who imports and exports fruit and vegetables and has a cutting-edge knowledge of the Fijian fruit craze. He stumbled upon the fiji fruit in 2013, when a shortage of passion fruit in his home country forced him to order some from New Zealand. Suppliers also put in hundreds of kilograms of feijoa. Mr Bicknell thought they were delicious and they were snapped up by homesick New Zealand expats within a week.

“They become like children,” he said. “Sometimes you have to listen to their childhood stories for about an hour. But it puts a smile on your face, even if you listen to it 200 times a week.”

Mr Bicknell now has 32 feijoa trees growing in his backyard in Brisbane, an orchard of 1,000 feijoa trees in Queensland’s Southern Highlands and an online store called Feijoa Addiction, which caters to the many people living in Australia. New Zealander.

He said there were few other countries where people felt the same way about fruit. “Malaysians are probably equally addicted to durian, New Zealanders and Fiji nuts,” he said. “Maybe it’s Cajuns and mangoes.” Australians love mulberries, “but the connection isn’t nearly as strong as the one between feijoa and New Zealanders.”

Auckland writer Charlotte Muru-Lanning says feijoa also evokes a special kinship. Because they store poorly and there are so many of them, at some point in the season people start throwing them away. Last year, she put them in a box on the sidewalk in front of her house with a small sign that said “Free Feijoa.”

This aspect of feijoa makes them a vessel for Māori concepts wakawana ongatanga – Ms Muru-Lanning, who is Māori, said build and strengthen relationships with the people around you. If you don’t have a feijoa tree, this is the perfect excuse to meet your neighbors who do. If you have a lot, you can show you care by sharing the fruit.

“If I lived in this country and had to buy feijoa, I would think something was wrong,” she said.

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