Monday, May 10, 2010

Feijoa skins

I'm making up for my lack of blogging by posting twice in one day. I wish I could blog about all the food I make, but I seem to be rather occupied most of the time. Recently, I've been bingeing on feijoas - as many New Zealanders do at this time of year.  I hear they're also known as pineapple guava, but I've never heard them called that here.They grow very well in our sub-tropical climate and everyone seems to have trees, I'm still suprised they sell in supermarkets when they're easy to get for free.  I picked up two buckets of them from an offer on Oooby and also got two lots from someone on Freecycle.  I find their juicy, sweet, tart flavour irresistable and am always suprised that some people don't like them. Some people love them so much they eat the skins which are a little sour for my tastes, but I have devised a way to get more of the goodness out of the skins before I compost them.

Fermented Feijoa Drink

I loosely fill a 1.5 litre sealable jar with the empty skins, then fill it almost to the top with water and add about 1/4 cup of sugar (I'm using organic fair trade sugar, but I guess honey would work too). I started off using kefir (converted milk kefir) to ferment the feijoas, but then realised that the powdery stuff on the feijoa skin is actually yeast and the kefir grains weren't doing much. The flavour leaches out of the skins, along vitamin C and other things, I assume, and makes a delicious feijoa tasting drink in a couple of days. When the weather was warmer it took two days on the bench to get to the fizzy-drink stage but now I'm experimenting with putting them in the hot water cupboard after a few less fizzy brews.



I've also tried chopping the skins up into small pieces and cooking them in honey for a while - it creates a sort of glaze which would be great over a cheese cake, or it could be poured into a jar and consumed as marmalade. My daughter loves eating the glaceed feijoa skins - she's convinced they're candy.

22 comments:

  1. I love your ideas for things to do with feijoa skins! (Guess I better get onto trying them before the season ends!!!)

    It's funny what you say about pineapple guava. I'd never heard anyone call them that until just the other day when my Tongan father in law referred to them as 'guava' - although he was slightly uncertain if I would know what he meant.

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  2. I've been experimenting with fermenting like this lately too but not having much success. I've been using honey and wonder if it doesn't work as well as sugar. Also, it's possibly too cold here now and I don't have a hot water cupboard :-(

    Feijoa honey marmalade sounds the go! I've made infused vinegar from feijoa skins a few times. The taste is subtle.

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    1. I've been told not to use honey in kefir because honey's has wonderful anti-bacterial, anti-everything properties that make it so good in healing (although manuka honey is way the best, all honey has some of the healing properties.) These same properties kill off the kefir, and, I guess, other fermentation yeasts etc too.

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  3. Johanna,
    Thanks. I'm suprised feijoa skins are so versatile, and everyone seems to throw them away - unless they're brave enough to eat them raw. I've been thoroughly enjoying my feijoa drink - it's very refreshing, like a very mild feijoa cider. I suppose feijoas are closely related to guavas - or possibly are classed as a guava. They're very similar plants.

    Lus,
    I've heard that honey is less effective with fermenting because it contains enzymes, but I've often used it to make fermented drinks and it worked fine. I was thinking, since you don't have a hot water cupboard, you could try putting a hot water bottle in a chilly bin - this works well for yogurt, sourdough and natto (so I'm told). I hear that's how some people make yogurt down south - chilly bin, blanket, hot water bottle.

    Feijoa infused vinegar sounds great. I might have to try that. I wonder how hard it would be to make vinegar out of feijoa skins - feijoa cider vinegar? Sounds tasty!

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  4. This is brilliant! Feijoa skins are the most fragrant part of the fruit, just like quince, so it makes perfect sense to use them this way. I particularly like your glacé feijoa skins.

    At the restaurant I work at, we tried creating a fragrant fruit salt for the bar & their drinks. We buried feijoas in a dish with sea salt (large, flat grains) & slowly heated them in the oven. The fruit released their oils which were absorbed by the salt. It worked a treat but the flavour was lost after a couple of weeks, despite careful storage.

    Neat blog, by the way - keep up your good work!

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  5. Thanks Nigel.
    Quince skins would make a nice drink - do you think it would be yeasty enough to self-culture, or would it be better to add something to it? I like the idea of feijoa salt or even feijoa sugar. Maybe I could experiment with ground dehydrated skins.

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    1. Hi Isa, I tried dehydrated ground skins as a rub on lamb roast, it was Divine!

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  6. A chilly bin is a great idea. I make my yoghurt in a thermos, which might be worth experimenting with for fermented drinks although maybe it's too fast. It'll be better in the winter when I'm inside more with the fire going, I can probably just use a jar then.

    I think the other problem is that I'm not using enough honey. I don't like too much sweet, but does most of the sugar get eaten up by the ferment?

    I don't know about feijoa skin vinegar. You might need more fruit sugar than they've got. Maybe old whole feijoa, or ones that have dropped from the tree.

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  7. Hi lus,
    Most of the sugar will get used up by the fermentation process - it is up to you how long you leave it, the longer you do the more sugar will be eaten by the culture.

    I might try to make some vinegar with the old feijoas and see how it goes.

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  8. Hi Isa

    Love your blog about feijoas .... think we have some little feijoas left, bit small for spooning, they could be put to use as you say. Will give it ago and let you know!! Nice to meet you last night with everyone else :-)

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  9. Hi Isa, I've been enjoying Fizzy Feijoa drink for the last few days. I'm pretty much drinking it as fast as I am making it :) It looks like an end of season delicacy I'll be more prepared to make earlier next season. I'm passing on the recipe to a lady on FB, with a reference to your blog. Thanks for sharing how to create it!

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  10. Great idea! I am one of those skins biters! My elderly neighbour and I are experimenting all the time.She made fruit leathers with feijoas. Mine are quite bruised now and nearly finished but the tamarillos are ready! nature is wonderful.

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  11. Hi Isa, yes I love the skins too! I like to use them in a smoothie for added flavour intensity :)

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  12. I save my feijoa skins chopped up in the freezer and when I have too many I make lovely chunky feijoa jam and chutney.

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  13. Mine is on the brew as we speak. I wonder if anyone has tried Cream of Tartar for the fizz?

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    1. Depending on the brew, it might be very fizzy already.

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  14. cool.... I want to try this but don't have water kefir grains. .. could I use a bit of kombucha brew?

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    1. I don't use water Kefir grains, the feijoas have enough yeast on their skins that you don't need a starter culture

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  15. Hi there, I have just started my first batch of this and was wondering how i would go about storing it? I would love to make several batches to last me throughout the winter if its possible.

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  16. Kia ora Isa! Do you seal the jar or leave it uncovered when you make this? Thanks!

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  17. Kia ora Isa! Do you seal the jar or leave it uncovered when you make this? Thanks!

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  18. Is the fermented juice alcoholic?

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