Feijoa season arrives quite late in Greta Valley. Our first fruit does not start coming ripe until at least six weeks after i have seen the first feijoas for sale in the greengrocers. We have several
varieties growing - Tagan, Pounamu, Unique, Apollo, Karamea, Arhart, White Goose and Golden Goose. Arhart is the earliest fruiting, and the fruit start dropping well before the other varieties. We've been eating Arhart for a few weeks now, and the Tagan are just beginning to drop.
Sadly, by the time most of the feijoas are becoming ripe we are having our first frosts, so the later ripening varieties tend to get frost damaged, and start going brown from the inside out. However chutney is a great way to use up these frost-damaged fruit - they're not nice enough to eat raw, but they are fine for chutney, and the discoloration is disguised by the colour of the chutney.
These days i take a bucket with me on my early morning walk with the dog, and on our way back through the orchard i pick up all the fallen feijoas i can find. I'm getting quite a collection of feijoas in the back porch, and am starting to run out of buckets, so i think it is getting close to chutney-making time.
I first made this chutney last year, after coming across the recipe in a book at my sister's house, and it became an instant favourite in our household, with its delicious fruity/spicy aroma and flavour.
PATRICK'S FEIJOA CHUTNEY
From 'The Grower's Cookbook' by Dennis Greville and Jill Brewis
Makes 6 x 350 ml jars
14 feijoas, peeled and roughly chopped
2 onions, finely chopped
1 cup dates, chopped
2 cups brown sugar
1 cup white wine vinegar
1 tablespoon salt
1 teaspoon ground coriander
3 star anise
3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1/2 teaspoon chilli paste
Place all ingredients in a large pan and bring to the boil. Cover and simmer for 1 to 1&1/2 hours until thickened. Spoon into sterilised jars and seal.
Serve as an accompaniment for meats, cheese and curries.