It's feijoa season, and my four young trees (about 5 years old) are producing well. This year, with lockdown, I can't share them easily with family and friends. I've preserved feijoas in a number of ways in the past - including freezing, dehydrating, baking and so on. This year I'm keeping it simple - bottling the flesh and using the skins to make my favourite fermented drink.
Like all naturally fermented drinks, this one relies on the natural yeasts and bacteria present to feed on the available sugars, creating a flavourful and probiotic result.
Feijoa fizz is delicately flavoured and tasty - the more time you give it in the final step, the more delicate the flavour and fizzy the result. The one pictured on the right was made a year ago. When poured, it had a good size head on it, but that had dissipated a bit before I took the pic.
Note of warning, if you use this brew to flavour kombucha, the resulting kombucha is typically extremely fizzy, and caution should be used when opening a bottle! It tends to act like coke + menthos! But it's good!
The method couldn't be simpler:
1) Rinse the feijoas before using the flesh however you choose (don't scrub or use soaps, vinegars etc - you don't want to remove the important surface microorganisms which make the ferment work, just rinse off any dirt etc).
2) Fill a jar (I use a one litre Agee jar) with feijoa skins.
3) Pour filtered or bottled water into the jar until it is nearly full. Don't use chlorinated tap water as it will kill the all important organisms.
4) Add 1-2 TBSP white sugar
5) If you wish, add something to the top of the jar to help hold the skins under the surface. I find a silicon muffin liner perfect for this.
6) Loosely cover with a lid
7) Place on the bench and leave for 2-3 days
8) Pour liquid into clean container, discard skins, rinse jar and tip liquid back into it. Top with more filtered water until nearly full.
9) Stir in 1 more TBSP sugar, cover.
10) Leave on the bench for another day or two, then decant into clean bottles and refrigerate.
If you use bottles that have previously held a fizzy drink (so withstand pressure and seal well) then you should get a nice, fizzy result after a time. The feijoa fizz will store for ages - the ones I made last year are super yummy now - and the flavour does develop as time passes. Results will vary though.
I like to use some of my feijoa fizz to flavour kombucha when I set it up for it's second ferment.
If I get a strong batch, I may drink it diluted with water or soda water.
Usually, though, if I'm just patient, the flavour becomes mild, fizzy and yum, so long as the bottle has a good seal.
This year I have made a couple of jars using skins that were lightly peeled from the fruit before bottling whole - this means a lot more skin in the average jar, so a stronger result. Usually though, and for most of my jars this year, I halve feijoas, scoop out the flesh, and use the remaining skins and flesh to make the ferment.
Of note: some recipes for this drink suggest covering the jar with muslin or a tea towel, to allow air to circulate. I find if I do that there is more likely to be mould form on the top. It's not a huge deal - it can be scooped off and discarded, but by using a lid, I don't have this happen and the results are still excellent.
I save and reuse glass bottles such as these for feijoa fizz and kombucha - these ones are all filled with the first batch of feijoa fizz. Having a couple of smaller bottles to pour some into gives me ready taste samples of different batches, without breaking open the main larger bottles I may want to leave for longer.
Above: how I normally make this drink.
Below: experimenting this year with feijoa peelings
Below: these outer jars were decanted from the two above; you can see the stronger colour from the thin skins. The middle jar was made in the regular way (halves scooped out). When it was first decanted, the colour was uniformly light. On the second day, it was darker at the top as you can see. This is typical; over time the colour may progressively darken before becoming lighter again down the track. It doesn't matter what the colour, though the flavours may vary.
Below left: Lots of lovely fruit - more falling every day.
Below: The bowl full of skins was from my first batch of bottled stewed feijoas - no waste here as I turn it into lovely fizz! And after the fizz is brewed, the skins go into the compost to feed my garden.