Herbs for Health – Feijoa sellowiana

herbs4healthFeijoa sellowiana – Pineapple guavas – guavasteen, are an exotic-flavoured fruit, native to South America. Small, green and egg-shaped, the scent and flavour tastes like a mixture of several other fruits, usually described as pineapple, guava, and strawberry. Sometimes the unique flavour is described as a combination of mint and pineapple. First collected in the wilds of southern Brazil in 1815 by German botanist Freidrich Sellow, introduced to Europe, and named after João da Silva Feijó, a Portuguese botanist.

This evergreen, perennial shrub or small tree is usually grown as an ornamental or fruiting tree. It produces an attractive burst of red flowers in spring. Leaves are coloured green on the upper surface and silvery grey on the underside. The oval fruit is a dull green with a whitish bloom. The skin is thin and generally inedible, but the central mass of whitish, granular flesh is delicious.
Easily grown, Feijoa will withstand frost, even in the Midlands of KZN.

Research data has demonstrated that the fruit contains saponins, which are thought to have anti-cancer properties and may lower cholesterol, while the flavonoids it contains are known to play an important role in the prevention of cancer, by inhibiting the growth of tumours. They are also an ally in the prevention of cardiovascular disease. Feijoa fruit is high in Vitamin C, potassium, and other minerals. The fruit is sometimes used as a digestive aid and as a cosmetic exfoliate.
In cooking, the fruit can be used in baking, desserts, salsas, sauces, jams, jellies and curries. One of its biggest advantages is that it can be frozen and cooked without loss of flavour or deterioration.
Another great plant to have in the garden.

2 tsp olive oil
1 red onion – finely chopped
1 small finger ginger – peeled and finely chopped
1 red chilli – finely chopped
1 tsp mustard seeds
4 large Feijoa – peeled and diced
2 tsp lemon juice
Salt & pepper to taste
Cook onion in oil until soft. Add ginger, add the chilli and mustard seeds and cook until the seeds begin to pop. Stir in feijoas and cook for a minute more. Add lemon juice and season.
Serve this with port instead of apple sauce – fabulous!

Until next time.
Yours in herbs,
Diane Aldworth