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Feijoas hit the market. Here's how to enjoy them.

Elliptical, olive-green feijoas, increasingly available in markets, may remind you of the small pineapple guavas that grow in many Western gardens. With good reason: feijoas are commercially produced pineapple guavas, marketed under a word taken from their botanical name: Feijoa sellowiana.

Perfumy feijoas come from New Zealand in the spring and early summer months, and from California's Central Valley in the fall. Commercial feijoas are uniformly about 3 inches long and more succulent than garden fruit, but they have the same sweet-tart flesh and rather sour skin.

When ripe, the fruit gives slightly to pressure. If it feels firm, let it stand at room temperature several days to ripen.

Cut fruits darken quickly upon exposure to air: to prevent discoloration, coat surfaces with lemon or lime juice (or other acid such as vinegar); heat also inhibits the darkening.

The most direct way to enhoy feijoas is to scoop out the fresh soft pulp and tender seeds with a spoon and eat. The remaining firm shells, poached to tenderness in a spicy syrup, make a sweet-sour relish that is very good with meats. You can also use the pulp in recipes, such as the frozen cream that follows.

To use the whole fruit, you'll probably want to pare off the tart green skin. You can gently warm the fruit in a simple syrup to make a compote for breakfast or dessert; here we suggest syrups of orange or ginger, two flavors that particularly complement the fragrant feijoa.

Or you can saute feijoas to heat; they go well with pork or sausages.

Look for feijoas in supermarkets or fancy grocers that carry unusual produce.

If you have pinapple guava in your garden, you can use it in these recipes; but be sure to allow for the larger size of the commercial feijoa when calculating amounts. Feijoas in Orange Syrup

1 cup orange juice Peel cut from 1 large orange (orange part only)

1/2 cup sugar

1/4 cup water

4 to 4 feijoas

1 cup orange segmets

Combine the orange juice, peel, sugar, and water in a 1- to 2-quart pan. Boil rapidly over high heat until mixture is reduced to 1 cup.

With a vegetable peeler or sharp knife, peel feijoas, cut crosswise into 1/4-inch-thick slices, and drop into the hot orange syrup. Add orange segmets. Cover and chill mixture until cold or overnight. Makes 4 or 5 servings. Feijoas in Ginger Syrup

1-1/4 cups water

1/2 cup sugar

1 piece fresh ginger, 1 by 1-1/2 inches, peeled and thinly sliced

1 tablespoon lemon juice Peel cut from 1 large lemon (yellow part only)

4 or 5 feijoas

Combine the water, sugar, ginger, lemon juice, and peel in a 1- to 2-quart pan. Boil rapidly over high heat until mixture is reduced to 1 cup. With a vegetable peeler or sharp knife, peel feijoas, cut into 1/4-inch slices, and drop into the hot ginger syrup. Cover and chill until cold or overnight. Makes 3 or 4 servings. Frozen Feijoa Cream

18 to 20 feijoas

3 tablespoons lime juice

1/2 cup firmly packed brown sugar

1 cup whipping cream

1/4 cup finely chopped crystallized ginger (optional)

Cut the feijoas in half crosswise. With a small spoon, scoop out center pulp, leaving 1/4-inch shells; reserve shells for the recipe that follows.

In a food processor or blender, whirl the feijoa pulp and measure; you need 2 cups. Whirl pulp with lime juice, brown sugar, cream, and ginger to blend.

Pour mixture into the container of an ice-cream maker (hand- or electric-churned, or a self-refrigerated automatic machine) and freeze according to manufacturer's directions.

Or pour into an 8- or 9-inch square metal pan, cover, and set in your freezer until firm. Break into chunks with a heavy spoon and beat with an electric mixer or whirl in a food processor to make a smooth, creamy slush. Refreeze.

Serve ice cream freshly made and softly frozen. Or package airtight and put in the freezer to store; let stand at room temperature a few minutes to soften slightly before scooping into serving dishes. Makes about 1 quart, of 6 to 8 servings. Spiced Feijoa Shells

18 to 20 feijoas

2-2/3 cups sugar

2/3 cup water

1/2 cup distilled white vinegar About 12 whole cloves

2 cinnamon sticks, each 3 inches long

Rinse feijoas; cut out stems, blossom ends, and any blemishes and slice in half crosswise. With a small spoon, remove center pulp, leaving about 1/4-inch shells; save pulp for frozen feijoa cream (preceding).

In a 4- to 5-quart pan, combine the sugar, water, vinegar, cloves, and cinnamon. Bring to a boil, stirring, until sugar dissolves. Add feijoa shells, gently pushing them into syrup. Cover pan; simmer until shells are very limp and shiny, 45 to 60 minutes; stir occasionally.

Serve at room temperature or chilled. To store shells, keep covered in the refrigerator as long as 2 weeks. Makes about 1-1/2 quarts; allow 3 to 4 pieces per serving. Feijoa and Sausage Saute

4 Italian sausages (1 to 1-1/4 lb. total)

4 feijoas

1 tablespoon lime juice

2 tablespoons firmly packed brown sugar

1/4 teaspoon ground coriander

Cook sausages in a 10- to 12-inch frying pan over medium heat, turning, until they are well browned and no longer pink in center (cut to test), about 15 minutes. Discard all but 3 tablespoons drippings.

Meanwhile, peel feijoas, cut in half lengthwise, and turn in lime juice to prevent browning. Add feijoas and lime juice to frying pan; turn to coat with drippings. Sprinkle fruit with brown sugar and coriander. Cover pan and cook until feijoas are heated through and very tender when pierced, about 5 minutes; turn occasionally. Makes 4 servings.
COPYRIGHT 1984 Sunset Publishing Corp.
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Copyright 1984 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Title Annotation:includes recipes
Date:Jun 1, 1984
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