* By the way, did you know that these two kiwi favourites are made by Sanitarium, which has a tax-exempt status because it is owned by a religious organisation, the Seventh Day Adventist Church? This "charitable business" is actually very good at marketing, with news of our "marmageddon" spreading as for as the UK. And remember that jingle which goes "Kiwi kids... are Weet-Bix kids"? Apparently, in Australia they had the same advertisements, only they sang "Aussie kids... are Weet-Bix kids"! I have always thought of the breakfast cereal as a New Zealand product, but it turns out it was invented in Australia.
|Pile of feijoas.|
|Vertical and horizontal cross-sections of feijoas.|
While I love feijoas eaten fresh, in a crumble, or in a cake (I particularly enjoy this spiced feijoa cake with crumble topping), I wanted a way to save their fragrant flavour for later. Obviously, you can freeze the pulp, and use it for making ice cream or baking. My in-laws pickle the small ones whole (just minus the tops) in a secret solution of what might be salt and vinegar. Or you can use the traditional fruit preservation method and turn it into a jam (if you are ever in France though, and the waiter doesn't understand what you mean by jam, don't think "preserve" and ask for préservatif or you will get some very strange looks indeed). I decided that I wanted to make feijoa cider. After all, the first one I ever had, thick and strongly alcoholic at the Wine Cellar four years ago, was a deliciously memorable experience.
I found plenty of feijoa wine recipes online, but I didn't see much written about feijoa cider. I had no experience with brewing anything (unless you count a cheat's version of ginger beer), and was intimidated by the special equipment, fancy yeast, sterilising washes, and things I had never heard of before (like airlocks, hydrometers, pectin enzymes and campden tablets). So when I was forwarded an extremely simple recipe from a friend of a friend, I stopped my research and went for that instead. Based on Lynda Hallinan's apple cider recipe, which in turn comes from Walter the Saint, it looked like this:
Put 1.5kg of feijoas in a bucket (cut off any bad bits first, and I usually remove the tops, too). Squash enthusiastically. Add 6.5 l of cold water, stir and cover. Stir 2x a day for a week. Strain out solids and mix in 1 kg of sugar and the juice and rind of 3 lemons. Leave overnight. Strain and bottle in clean PET bottles (I usually fill 3/4- 4/5 of the bottle then squeeze out the air before capping). Drinkable after 2 weeks. Open with caution.
I didn't actually follow it to the letter. I couldn't bring myself to put the skins in as well, for instance. It looked like a pretty loose recipe anyway, so I had no qualms about using a stick mixer instead of squashing the fruit, or brown sugar instead of white. I also unscrewed the bottle cap ever so slightly once in a while, to let out some of the trapped gases.
|Feijoa pulp, blended with a stick mixer, and some cut feijoas in the background.|
I will have to wait till next year before I have enough feijoas again to try Linda Isbister's recipe. In the meantime, I guess maybe I should read up on proper brewing technique.
Our Growing Edge, a monthly blogging event aimed at inspiring us to try new things. This month it is hosted by Sonya from And More Food.