Autumn is my favourite season because it precedes my second favourite season, Winter, and it also means pretty trees, no more hayfever sniffles (this year I discovered the pure hellishness of plane trees after dining under a stretch of them), and the appearance of 2 of my favourite fruits – Feijoas and kiwiberries. I can tell you where every feijoa tree in my neighbourhood is because I eyeball every dark green tree to see if it is a feijoa tree because I then know where to plot my walking path when feijoas are in season so I can collect the fruit that drop on the sidewalk. It’s also where I go to collect the pollen (I just use a brush gently agitate the flowers to collect pollen) to pollinate my own feijoa tree so I get more fruit. Yes, I am a tad sad.
This year, I won the feijoa jackpot when I found a house that had a massive feijoa tree and they put out the fruit on the sidewalk for anyone to collect. The first time I saw the sign for free feijoas, I almost fell off my bicycle in a haste to see if there was any left in the box. I filled every pocket in my jumper and cycling pants and after getting some tips from the owner of the house on how to make feijoa jam, I rushed home and got to work. I’ve never made feijoa jam before because I never have enough fruit that I am willing to part with to sacrifice for the jam, and if you didn’t win the feijoa jackpot, the fruit is available in small fresh produce stores. I do see them around local fruit and vegetable shops when they are in season. Else, facebook marketplace has become a lucrative venture for feijoa tree owners and I do see ads pop up very often when they are in season ($6 to $10 a kg). The jam tastes a bit like guava jam and maybe a bit pear-like too, with a very zingy fragrance. I like to add a bit of ginger to boost the flavour even more, but it is truly optional.
- 1.5kg feijoa
- 1kg sugar
- zest 1 lemon
- juice of 1 lemon
- 1/2 cup of water
- 4 slices ginger (optional)
- Peel (yes, you read right) the feijoa and chop into small pieces
- Place feijoa, water, lemon zest and lemon juice in pot and boil for 30 – 45 mins. I find that the feijoa firms up after adding sugar so I like to let it soften a bit else it ends up a chewy kind of jam. You may need to add another 1/2 cup of water if the mixture starts to dry out.
- Once feijoa is very soft, add ginger (if using) and sugar and bring to boil on medium heat till temperature reaches 106C / 222F. It will take 15-25mins depending on the water content of the mixture prior to adding sugar. If you don’t have a thermometer, place a plate in the freezer for 5 min then place a dollop of jam on it. Wait 1 minute and push your finger through the middle of the jam. If the jam is ready, it should form a channel (without the jam leaking into the channel) where your finger pushed through, and the skin of the jam will have formed and you will see wrinkles on the surface of the jam. If there are no wrinkles on the surface of the jam, cook for another 5-7minutes and test again.
- Bottle the jam in sterilised jars and it should store for 1-2 years in your pantry (assuming you sealed it properly) or 6 – 12 months in the refrigerator.