Hello Again, Sydney

One Sydney-sider's experiences moving back to Sydney after a long absence overseas.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Suburban scavenger

My idea for a Sydney food blog: meals prepared using ingredients found for free in the suburbs. I am more or less ripping this idea off from Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall; I'm also aware that what the world needs now is probably not another food blog. And to cap it all off, I'm not actually very committed to the idea. But if I did go for it, this would be my first entry...

Walking down to Coogee beach with my son and a couple of his friends, we stopped to investigate some fruit lying under a tree. My first reaction, of course, was "Don't put those in your mouths!". But when my wife and I looked closer, we realised with surprise - and joy - that the fruits were edible, and something we hadn't seen since leaving Colombia: feijoa.

The feijoa is about the size of a kiwifruit, but more elongated, smooth-skinned and firmer. Inside, the flesh is light green, sweet, and (I think) smells faintly of sherbert. In Colombia we used them for juice - just chuck a bunch of them in the blender with water, strain into a jug, then add sugar/water to taste. It's customary to have a glass of juice with your meal there, and it's something we really miss. In Bogota I'd go shopping at the markets at Palo Quemado, and buy a variety of fruit for juice throughout the week: maracuya, mora, guanabano, guayaba, coruba, lulo... and feijoa. The whole Boost thing - umpteen different fruits blended with frozen yoghurt and infusions of herbal benificence - leaves me unsatisfied. What's wrong with doing just one flavour, and doing it well?

As the feijoa we found under the tree were going to waste, we collected a few and took them home. Sadly, all but the very green ones were infested with grubs, but we still managed to get a decent juice out of those that were intact. I wonder if the person who owns the tree knows the fruits are edible. I also wonder why Australia doesn't grow them commercially. They're quite big in New Zealand, so the conditions here are obviously suitable. Wouldn't it be great, I thought, if you could get feijoa from the markets.

Be careful what you wish for. About a month later they were selling feijoa at our local fruit and veg shop. But at $2.50 each (!) you'd be paying around $10 for a glass of juice. I'll stick to getting them off the ground thankyouverymuch.


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