Recipe | Feijoa Ice Cream — by Christall Lowe

The gathering of food and the gathering of people to share a meal are at the heart of Māori family life. Christall Lowe’s book, Kai, is a passionate homage to a life deeply rooted in food, where exquisite flavours weave seamlessly with cherished food memories.

“This is a book about our way of cooking, eating and gathering — whether it be the gathering of kai, or the gathering of people. Our ‘life of kai’. Our life of kai is something innate, because it’s an extension of our very person — how we were raised, the concepts and ideologies that have been worked into our very core simply through nurturing.”

— Read the full interview about Christall’s book, garden and life of kai here.

Feijoa season is always a much anticipated part of autumn. The excitement of those first few green goodies dropping from the tree – every bite is savoured. But often by the end of the season there is a glut of feijoas that nobody quite knows what to do with. This is where Christall Lowe’s simple feijoa ice cream recipe comes in handy. Unlike other feijoa ice cream recipes, there is no need for an ice cream maker. Simply delicious.

Christall Lowe with her camera in the family orchard

Words by Christall Lowe, Kai

Reka Kai — Cold Desserts

There’s no denying that sweet desserts are often my favourite part of any meal. My puku may be completely full from a big roast dinner, but I (and others in my family) seem to have a whole new stomach when it comes to dessert.

In the summer, I crave the sweetness of cherries and blueberries, and then I wait patiently for the first taste of the new season’s Golden Queen peaches.

Soon after the peaches are devoured, the passionfruit start dropping from the neighbour’s vine (and over my fence — thank you, neighbour). Then we are straight into the feijoas and Black Doris plums, the trees laden with them come autumn.

Winter is a treat with tamarillos, persimmons and pears. As we emerge from the depths of winter, we welcome the first sweet strawberries.

No matter what the season, there’s always something to delight my tastebuds, and something to offer for dessert.


Feijoa Ice Cream

Making feijoa ice cream with my cousins is something of a tradition. We first made it back in standard three (about 9 years old), using a recipe from the School Journal.

Every year now we make a batch of this when the feijoas are dropping, and even my cousin who now lives in Australia and can’t get feijoas from a tree, still buys them especially for this treat (at an exorbitant price).

I’m so thankful that we have a few backyard feijoa trees, but if you don’t, you will often come across school kids selling bags of them at their front gate.

ALSO TRY: END OF SUMMER CHOW CHOW — Recipe by Christall Lowe

Feijoa icecream recipe

RECIPE — Feijoa Ice Cream

MAKES: Approx. 2 litres


2 eggs, separated

1 can (395g) sweetened condensed milk

2 cups feijoa flesh, puréed

2 tbsp lime or lemon juice

1 cup (250ml) cream


Using an electric beater, beat the egg yolks with a steady drizzle of condensed milk until pale and creamy — about 3–4 minutes. Add the feijoa purée and lime or lemon juice and beat until combined.

Note: you can reserve some of the feijoa purée to swirl through the ice cream at the end, but be aware it will freeze harder than the ice cream due to the higher water content.

In a separate bowl, whip the cream until thick.

In another bowl, and with clean beaters, beat the egg whites until stiff.

Carefully fold the whipped cream and then the egg whites into the condensed milk feijoa mixture until just combined.

Pour into a freezer-safe container with lid (around 2-litre capacity), swirl through reserved feijoa purée, if desired, and freeze for at least 5 hours or until set.

Leave the ice cream out of the freezer for 5 minutes to soften before serving.

Sage notes: How to grow & harvest feijoas:

Feijoas are also known as a pineapple guava outside of New Zealand. The fruit, with its green skin and off-white fleshy insides, grow on a small tree that are relatively low maintenance, easy to grow and tolerant of most climates.

Here are some key tips for growing and harvesting a bountiful glut of sweet, juicy feijoas:

  • Planting: Feijoas can be planted in the autumn and spring. Though many varieties these days are self-fertile, it’s always a good idea to plant more than one variety close to each other if space allows. Choose a full sun location that has well-draining soil. Dig a hole that is twice as wide as the root ball and just as deep. Plant the tree at the same depth as it was in the container.

  • Watering: Feijoas need to be kept consistently moist, but not waterlogged. Deep water (a little water over a longer period of time) regularly, especially while the fruit is developing and ripening from summer onwards.

  • Feeding: Add compost and sheep manure/pellets to the base of the tree(s) regularly.

  • Pruning: Prune and thin feijoa trees in late autum or winter (after their harvest is over) to encourage growth and pollination.

  • Harvesting: Feijoas are an autumn seasonal fruit – typically ready to harvest through autumn and early winter. Feijoas are ready when they have just dropped from their branches onto the ground. They should be slightly soft to touch when they’re ready to eat.

  • Eat: Feijoa trees are often prolific producers, especially when they’re on well established trees. Feijoa icecream is a delicious way to use up excess feijoas. Baking is also a great way to use feijoas, like a feijoa cake or muffins, or a feijoa and apple crumble. Feijoa pulp freezes well to use in baking and cooking year round – just scoop the pulp from the fruit and pop in the freezer and use the frozen fruit later.

Christall Lowe, née Rata (Ngāti Kauwhata, Tainui and Ngāti Maniapoto descent) is a food writer, stylist and photographer based in the beautiful Feilding, Manawatū. Christall specialises in creating detailed, rich, and moody photographs with an ethereal sense of depth. As well as being a busy mum of three, she creates and photographs food and lifestyle images for food brands,, publications, top chefs and cookbooks.

— Words and recipe extracted from Kai: Food stories and recipes from my family table by Christall Lowe

(Photography by Christall Lowe, published by Bateman Books, RRP $59.99)

Buy Now