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Five flavours » Condiments, New Zealand, Vegan, Vegetarian » Feijoa Chutney

Feijoa Chutney

feijoa chutney ingredients

The first time I saw a feijoa I thought it must be some kind of guava because it looked like a small farang (ฝรั่ง), a Thai guava. Incidentally, farang is also what Thais call foreigners. What do us non-Thais and a tropical fruit have in common? Well, not much except that the fruit version was reportedly brought to Thailand by the Portuguese and so was therefore labelled as farang, meaning foreign thing. There is more to that story but I will spare you the etymology lesson. Anyway,  I was keen to try this tiny New Zealand farang and decided, on first taste, that it was bitter and completely awful! The next time the season came round it seemed like everyone I knew was raving about the little buggers to the point that I thought I must’ve made some sort of mistake. I was determined to try again and when someone brought a bag of them in to work, I took one and broke into it. It was sweet and fragrant and had a taste somewhere in between pears and bubblegum. It was not at all bitter. I’d obviously eaten one that was not yet ripe the first time. It’s a good thing I am a try everything twice, sort of girl.feijoa interior

Most Kiwis have a rule of never paying for feijoas because almost everyone has a tree in their garden and, if they don’t, their gran/auntie/brother-in-law/cuzzy bro has one. People who actually pay money for feijoas are seen as suckers. Sadly, I do not have a tree. I am the aforementioned sucker. But being a convert to the joys of the feijoa, I sneak in to the supermarket incognito, look round to be sure nobody in building knows me, and then fill up my basket whilst running to the till. Don’t tell anyone.

Feijoas are not native to New Zealand, however. They were brought from South America in the 1800s. Chutney is not a New Zealand invention either, but feijoa chutney really is something you will find Kiwis making every year in a effort to make use of the thousands of feijoas falling off trees all over the country this time of year. My recipe is a whole fruit version that has a tang not unlike a good British piccalilli only there is no mustard or turmeric so it is not bright yellow.  It tastes delicious on a sandwich with a bit of sharp cheddar.

Feijoa Chutneyspices for the spice parcel

You need these spices tied up in a piece of cheesecloth:

3 cloves
3 black peppercorns
1/2 tsp cumin seeds
3 cardamom pods, slightly crushed

You also need:

9-10 good sized feijoas (about 1kg)
100g dried peaches or apricots
1 red onion, diced
2cm ginger, grated
2 whole dried chilies
1 stick of cinnamon,around 10cm long
1 clove of garlic, crushed
1/4 cup sugar
1 cup water
1/2 cup vinegar (white or cider)
1 tsp salt

the beautiful ingredients

What to do:

Place all the items in a pot except for the vinegar and salt and heat through on low heat. Turn everything over a little to be sure that it doesn’t catch on the bottom, but don’t overdo it or the feijoas will eventually break down too much.

Once everything is heated through and the sugar is incorporated, add the vinegar and salt and cook until the whole mixture reduces and thickens to a nice, jam-like consistency.

cooking with spice parcel

Taste for flavour in case you like it a bit more salty or vinegary. Remove spice bag and then pour the chutney into clean bottles for preserving unless you are going to eat it straight away. Unbottled (uncanned) chutney needs to be refrigerated but it should keep for a good long time. Either way, it should mellow over time so if it’s a bit too sour for you at first, bottle it and try again in a month or two. This made two big jars for me.

feijoa chutney

Filed under: Condiments, New Zealand, Vegan, Vegetarian · Tags: , , , , ,

10 Responses to "Feijoa Chutney"

  1. Marie says:

    Hi Pam and thanks for stopping by. I think it would depend on how you made it. Without vinegar it sounds like more of a fresh chutney (a bit more like a jam than a sour pickle, perhaps?) that I would just eat up within a day or two from the fridge. But, if you’d bottled it while it was still hot (assuming it was a cooked one) then it would last a lot longer. I hope this helps.

  2. Pam says:

    Have used a chutney recipe using Feijoas which has no vinegar in it just water. Wondering if it will keep for several months or do we have to use it up quite quickly.

  3. Marie says:

    He he, so they are not “ugly”! Unless someone once referred to them as the ‘beans’ of the tree (giant ones at that!), perhaps we should just give up on finding a link here. It is fun to find all this potential in language, though. Thanks so much for stopping by to give your expert opinion:)

  4. Litterate says:

    Hi, all

    I am not Portuguese, but I live close by and I speak a very similar language (Galician), so here is my guess:

    Feijoes ( in Portugal are beans, and feijoada is a dish prepared with beans as its basic ingredient ( Nothing to do with the Spanish adjective ‘feo’ (= ugly), though the root of the word is very similar.

    So I guess the confusion comes from identifying ‘feijoes’ (beans) and ‘feijoa’, the fruit. I had never heard of that fruit until now, the confusion is more than logical because the words are almost identical.

    I hope I have been of help. :o)

    Oh, and enjoy the meal!

  5. Marie says:

    Rosalind, you are so right because feijoas originate from southern Brazil. I wonder what the connection is in the word, though? I’m guessing the root is feijo (hmmm, that wouldn’t be like ‘feo’, ugly, in Spanish would it?), but I couldn’t find any translations of that online. We need a Portuguese linguist!

  6. Fly Girl says:

    I thought that these may have something to do with the Portuguese because feijos remind me of feijoada, the Brazilian national dish. This sounds like it would be a nice accent to a savory or sweet dish.

  7. Marie says:

    Thanks for stopping by, Melissa. It’s so true about tasting things twice, or three or four times if they are good;-)

  8. MJ says:

    I’ve never seen feijoas in the states, but this makes me want to find them! It looks lovely. I love that you tried them twice, too. I feel I am always surprising myself with foods I thought I didn’t like the first time, but now realize I just tried off season.

  9. Marie says:

    I found this which refers to feijoas as pineapple guavas and makes it sound as if they may occasionally be found in California, especially around San Francisco. Climate-wise that sort of makes sense to me. I’d be interested to someday find them in that area just to see if they taste the same. It doesn’t sound like they are prevalent enough that you’d find them for chutney-making, though. Maybe there is another guava or guava cousin in your area you could try.

  10. Vicki says:

    MMmmmm…..wonder what I could substitute for feijoas since I haven’t seen them here.

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