The feijoa, or pineapple guava, is a tropical plant native to Brazil and New Zealand. It prefers subtropical zones and will suffer from frost damage. Feijoa is frequently used to make hedges and screens, because it is attractive and relatively fast growing. The fruit is considered subacid, with a pineapple-like flavor that has sweeter notes of strawberry and guava.
The feijoa bush grows to approximately 15 feet (five meters) and has pale gray bark with greenish gray oblong leaves. The flowers are very flashy, in maroon and white, and make a startling and sweetly scented addition to landscaping. Planted close together and trained, feijoa bushes make an excellent privacy screen or windbreak in temperate zones. Feijoa prefers partial sun, with protection from extreme heat.
The feijoa fruit begins as a green ovoid shape covered in small white hairs. As the fruit matures, it remains greenish or yellow with a faint red tinge, and the hairs will drop off. When cut open, the feijoa reveals white granular flesh and pulp-enclosed seeds. The feijoa fruit also has a rich perfume, which it begins to emit before it is fully ripe.
The flowers of the feijoa are also edible, although spicy, and are excellent eaten plain, sprinkled on salads, or used as a garnish. The fruit itself should be peeled before consumption and sprinkled with lemon juice to prevent browning. Feijoa is often used to dress up fruit salads, cooked in puddings, preserved in syrup, or fermented into alcohol. Feijoa is also used to make chutneys and relish, and a syrup extract is commonly used in Latin America to flavor beverages.
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