Fab Feijoas!

They’re high in antioxidants, vitamin C, minerals and fibre. They are uniquely New Zealand and Jamie Oliver wants them imported to the UK immediately! A bumper crop of feijoas are at a tree or hedge near you now.

Hot, dry weather is ideal for the production of a high quality crop and fruit quality for the current season is looking good, says the president of the New Zealand Feijoa Growers Association, Tim Harper.

Not only is a good crop expected but the feijoa has been scoring very well in the analysis of its health benefits. In recent years research teams around the world have found extracts from the fruit to contain comparatively high levels of the compounds that enhance anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidant activity.

In one measure of antioxidant activity, the Horticulture and Food Research Institute of New Zealand (HortResearch) ranked feijoas just over mid-way in comparison with other popular fruit, confirming the potential for the fruit as a functional food ingredient.

The antioxidant activity of the fruit is based on its relatively high content of compounds known as proanthocynanins – a class of polyphenolics that are widely promoted for their health enhancing properties. The proanthocyanins have also been reported to reduce inflammation.

Based on their trials to date, scientific researchers agree there is evidence to support the use of proanthocyanin-based foods and dietary supplements as effective antioxidants. Feijoas also have high levels of Vitamin C, and are high in minerals and fibre.

Feijoas are on sale in NZ by mid-March and available until early June every year.

By Trudi Nelson, www.fresh.co.nz