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Monday, April 16, 2012

Feijoa Frolic!

It's been so long since I've had a chance to sit down and write about my kitchen exploits.  Thankfully Sadly, the tomato season is over and I have no more (fresh) tomatoes with which to make my chutney.

So now, I'm knee deep in feijoas.  It also known as pineapple guava in the US and Mexico.  Feijoas are a native fruit of South America, but one that has flourished in New Zealand and very well loved.  It's a perfumey, sweet fruit - a bit of an acquired taste - I hated them when I first tried them, but I've come to really enjoy the tart sweetness of them.  Good thing too, because I have many.  You may think I'm exaggerating when I say 'knee-deep' but I don't think I'm stretching the truth at all. 

The top view of the bag I filled yesterday.  This is about 1/3 of what was outside, but the bag was too heavy to keep filling.  It isn't completely full, as I made some jam yesterday.
It is bigger than an average bag, it actually does come up to my knees.  This is the second bag of this size that I've filled this month.  There are MANY more feijoas to be harvested outside... many... many... many.
I spotted some lovely, fat, juicy, plum feijoas in the yard when I went to get the mail, so I couldn't resist trying to make another batch of jam.  I had to test one of course... it passed quality control, don't worry.  (I've already made a batch of feijoa chutney.  It was good, but not my favourite.  I forgot to take photos and blog about it.  I'll probably make another batch for something to do with the fruit.)

Plump, juicy and oh so yummy!
I used a standard jam recipe.  I've learned from my last few experiences that although the recipe is easy, it doesn't mean that the jam will turn out right.  The plum jam was too runny and didn't set (not boiled long enough and went mouldy after it was stored - I think I didn't fill it enough); the tomato and chilli jam was perfect but it also went straight into the fridge once it was cool so I'm not sure if it was right and the feijoa jam I made yesterday was too hard (I think I boiled it for too long.)  Live and learn I guess.  Good thing I'm not short on feijoas to practise on! 

Get some good, meaty feijoas!

Scoop out the insides with a spoon.  You need 500g.  I tried to peel them yesterday but it was too arduous and I couldn't get the sour pith part off without taking out an unreasonably high proportion of fruit, so I went with the scooping.

For some ridiculous reason, the photo uploaded sideways and I can't be bothered to muck around with it to fix it.  500 g fruit to 500 g sugar.  I used regular white sugar today because I ran out of jam sugar (which has added pectin to help the jam set) but maybe that could be part of why it was TOO hard yesterday?

Chop up the feijoas and toss them in a pot on medium/medium-high heat.

Once the fruit comes to a boil, I reduce the heat and let it simmer down about to half the original amount and it's mushy.  This is generally when I use a potato masher to help it along.  As it cooks, try to skim off as much foam as possible.
Add the sugar, stir until dissolved and then let it boil hard for about 10 minutes - stirring often to prevent it sticking to the bottom of the pan.  Add a tablespoon of lemon juice after the sugar is dissolved.  It's meant to help the jam set.
Jam set test.  Apparently it's set when you put a blob on a plate and can make a channel through it.  I put the plate in the freezer for about 20 minutes beforehand.  I also thought it was done because it coated (and stuck) to the back of a spoon.
Pour into sterilized jars.  I'm hoping these don't go mouldy!  We'll have to eat the one covered with the cellophane disc first, as it isn't completely full and more likely to go mouldy because of how much air is in there.  I also noticed some condensation collecting on the inside of the disc.  Such a beautiful golden colour.  Yum!

When placed side by side, it's easy to see that the one on the right (yesterday's jam) is deeper in colour - a bit burned maybe? (Not quite right, at any rate... but still tastes pretty good on fresh bread with a bit of butter!)

I have to say - it's delicious!  I'm going to take some things to the Sallies in the next day or two and I may see if there are any jars going begging while I'm there.  I wonder how much feijoa is too much feijoa.

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