The Benefits of Feijoa
MD: Have you ever heard of the exotic fruit known as feijoa? It has a number of healing features and there are lots of ways to use it every day!
• Feijoa: What kind of fruit it is?
• Chemical composition
• Healing features
People think that mid-autumn is the best time to harvest seasonal crops. However, what they don’t realize is it’s also the best period for discovering unique new and exotic tastes. During the first days of winter days, supermarket counters and shelves are typically full of citrus fruits, pomegranates, figs, dates, and also a lesser-known tropical fruit called feijoa. For some reason the last member of this list isn’t very popular, except among gourmet eaters. But what about its nutritious qualities? How does moderate but regular consumption of this fruit affect our body?
Feijoa: What kind of fruit is it?
Feijoa is a specific kind of fruit that grows on small trees from the myrtle family. The very first person to discover and document this delicacy was João da Silva Feijo, a Brazilian naturalist — actually, the fruit was named in his honor. The Feijoa originates from Brazil, however today it’s actively cultivated in various places around the world, including the subtropical region of the Caucasus, Crimea, Turkmenistan and Azerbaijan.
Feijoa can be found at local markets in these regions, and is no longer restricted to its distant homeland. This fruit is the only edible part of the evergreen tree. It’s a big juicy berry of around 2-5 centimeters in length (but sometimes even 7 centimeters) and about 1.5-4 centimeters in diameter. One feijoa can reach up to 100 grams in weight, but usually it ranges between 20 and 60 grams. It usually has an oval shape, although sometimes it can be a broad-oval or even cuboidal. Its color ranges from light to dark green. If a feijoa has acquired a darkish-brown tint, then it’s lost its marketable appearance and become unsuitable for use. The fruit has a smooth and sometimes slightly bumpy rind and inside it contains flesh with seeds surrounded by a white translucent sour pulp. The aroma and flavor of the feijoa are comparable to a mixture of strawberries, pineapples and kiwis.
At first glance, it may seem like feijoa isn’t a necessary addition to your cuisine, but this will change as soon as you realize out what an excellent ingredient it is for compotes, lemonades, cocktail drinks, jams and confiture, salads, sauces and more. The feijoa can be grinded and mixed with sugar or honey, so you can even eat it right from the jar with a spoon. Moreover, feijoa is also used as an aromatic stuffing at bakeries or as a healthy addition to cold snacks. Feijoa is an inimitable ingredient for a nutritious diet, because of its incredibly valuable contents and, most importantly, its healing properties.
Understanding the qualities and particular elements that have been given to exotic feijoa is only possible by learning its essential chemical composition.
The chemical composition of this berry consists of a unique balance of diverse components. Its content has both the essential vitamins as well as an unusually high concentration of minerals.
As for vitamins, it contains C, B1, B2, B3, B5, B6, and PP. Just one small feijoa has more vitamin C content than any other citrus fruit. It’s actually the most powerful immunomodulator.
Among its high concentrations of minerals are iodine, calcium, potassium, sodium, magnesium, phosphorus, iron, copper, zinc, and manganese. Its iodine content deserves special attention, because its level is equivalent to seafood and seaweed. This fruit can actually be prescribed to people who have thyroid dysfunction, because there’s so little organic food with such a high content of iodine. As for organic acids, feijoa has mainly apple and folic acid, which gives it its sour flavor.
Why is it so essential for dietary nutrition? You should include it in your diet if you’re hoping to lose a few pounds, particularly if you’re prone to excess weight and/or a disrupted metabolism. The main secret is that feijoa contains a unique blend of easily digestible proteins and fatty acids. You can use it as a fully-fledged snack or as an excellent addition to your main dish. Moreover, it helps with weight loss and can prevent hypovitaminosis.
Feijoa contains a multitude of beneficial elements, the therapeutic features of which support different organs as well as various processes in the human body.
- stimulate mental processes and brain activity. The iodine content in feijoa helps to improve memory, concentration and intellectual abilities;
- detoxify and tone your body thanks to its high content of antioxidants;
- normalize thyroid function (although serious problems here can’t be cured by feijoa alone), improving strength and energy and fighting lethargy;
- treat inflammatory processes in various areas of the body, such as:
o inflammation of the digestive tract / gastritis;
o Graves disease.
- normalize bowel function due to its high content of dietary fiber and vitamin B. Feijoa positively affects digestion and can eliminate diarrheal disorders;
- normalize blood pressure;
The immunomodulatory properties of this berry come from its unexpectedly large vitamin C content. Feijoa’s peel is thick and has a kind of tart flavor, containing soft, juicy pulp with a small number of seeds.
Of course, its flesh is also delicious which is why people to peel it off and eat it, making the entire fruit good for consumption. Some people prefer to eat only the inside, forgetting that its skin also contains a huge number of nutrients. Furthermore, the feijoa peel can be dried and added to tea as a delicious flavoring. These berries are loved in countries with a temperate climate, frequent cold weather and an absence of fresh fruits.
The feijoa fruit ripens around the middle of October and lasts until approximately the end of November. At this time you’ll be able to find it on supermarket shelves. However, you can also procure it for future use:
- The fruit should be soft to the touch and have no visible damage to its outside.
- A solid feijoa can still ripen, but don’t buy if it feels too spongy.
- Cut it and make sure the flesh is transparent and ripe.
- If the fleshy tissue is white, then the fruit is not ripe yet — brown means that it is spoiled.
- Store feijoa in the refrigerator. You can keep it in the vegetable compartment for seven days to two weeks, depending on how ripe the berries are.
- During storage feijoa loses a lot of its moisture which makes it sweeter.
You can also prepare the fruit throughout the winter period: Wash the feijoa, cut away the inflorescence, crush the rind using a meat grinder or a blender, add a sufficient amount of sugar equal to the amount of fruit in the puree.
Initially, the jam will turn green, but eventually it will darken because of the natural process of seed pigmentation. Keep your jam in the refrigerator or freeze it. If you decide to boil it, then note that some of the natural vitamins will be lost, but you can still store the jam at room temperature. Using this method of preparation will maintain all of the beneficial properties of feijoa.