Guava Season

Our resident French doctor friend came by the house last weekend with a bucket full of guavas for us. Guavas are falling off the trees around here; it seems they all come into season at the exact same moment and last only a couple of weeks. Kind of like mango season a couple months ago, intense but brief. Guavas are apparently really good for you: A single fruit contains four times as much vitamin C as an orange! They’re loaded with antioxidants and have lots of traditional medicinal uses, including fighting cancer.

The only guava I’d ever tasted before was guava juice at a breakfast buffet in Thailand. I’d loved it. But a bucket of guavas and no juicer in sight? I didn’t know what to do with them.

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bucket o’ guavas

Seb told me he really enjoyed guava jam when he visited Hawaii, and that the doctor had made some and I ought to try too. I’d never made anything with guavas, nor jam of any kind before. And I barely knew what guavas even tasted like. But I can’t resist a challenge, especially a throwdown from my husband. Game on!

I found several guava jam recipes online but they only helped confuse me. Some said to peel them and use the pulp with the seeds, others said to deseed them and use only the peel, still others said to use the entire fruit. Some used an overnight sugar maceration, others just a quick whizz in the blender before a short time on the stove, and some a long time on the stove and no blender.

I decided to let the guavas tell me what to do. They were incredibly ripe, soft, practically falling apart. If I tried to peel them there would be nothing left. If I tried to deseed them there would be nothing left. So I trimmed only the nastiest of bits and threw everything else into a saucepan, added water, and let it all boil down for something like 5 hours. (Minus a power outage in the middle of it all. Of course.)

After that, a quick whizz with an immersion blender, then a pass through a fine-mesh strainer to remove all the seeds. A beautiful red-orange puree remained. To that I added sugar, a pinch of salt, and a squeeze of lemon juice. Then boiled it again until thickened. The result was gorgeous and very tasty, if I do say so myself. Smooth, flavorful but not overpowering, sweet but not too sweet. It can even be eaten with a spoon, and I can’t say that of most jams.

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guava jam in recycled jars

I gave a jar to Viviane and she returned with it completely empty the next day, asking for the recipe! She said she had shared it with her husband and a friend the evening before, neither of whom could believe it was really made from guavas. The fruit has a reputation for being a little less than enjoyable, I guess. It has a slightly bitter flavor and super-hard seeds which can easily chip a tooth. So the next day we made another batch of jam together (just that morning a friend had brought over another bucket of beautiful fresh-picked guavas) which she took home along with the recipe. I also made an Indian-style guava and tomato curry for lunch; it was a keeper as well.

We’re all guava fans now, even the monkey!

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Lucy and The Guava

Anybody have any good guava recipes out there? Would love to know more!

14 comments

  1. Looks yummy. I wonder if I can get some back her and try. Send me the recipe. It fun to learn new things.
    Take care and Love You Guys.

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    1. Sure, take a look to see if they sell fresh guavas at the grocery store! If so they would have been picked and shipped in a very pre-ripe state, because they ripen and rot very quickly. If not, see if they have sliced guava in cans. You can taste those, or blend them up to make “jam.”

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    1. Hi Kathy, I have been hoping to answer your question, but when I return to the guava tree I find I need a ladder to get more! The local gardeners have all picked the “low-hanging fruit” already. I haven’t yet tasted a guava plain, I must admit I’m a little afraid. The really ripe ones don’t smell great… a cross between cat piss and body odor. Seriously. 😦 But the jam is good, believe it or not! Like a plum-flavored applesauce.

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  2. Jen and Seb – Lucy the monkey has gotten fat since you’ve been there! Too much good food….
    The Cuban population here in Florida uses guava paste in various pastries. It’s a little too sweet for me (the packer must add lots of sugar to the paste during production), but the flavor is very good. I didn’t know what guava actually looked like until now. Doesn’t appear very appetizing at all.

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    1. Ah yes, I came across lots of Cuban recipes when I was researching guavas, and wondered if you’d had some there in Florida! There’s a lot of other ways I need to try them. Yes, I say skip the fresh fruit, but definitely try the juice if you come across it. Viviane told me she’s always avoided the fruit, it just doesn’t appeal to her, but after having the jam she has started buying guavas again.

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  3. Having tasted Jen’s Guava jam, it is delicious….I love it on my toast in the morning….it is very more-ish….thanks for sharing Jen….

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  4. Kathy – lol on the Airwick! Colleen and I, along with another friend, picked a bunch of guavas again yesterday to make more jam together, it’s that tasty. We also froze a bunch to make smoothies or cocktails with, and then sat down with a handful of the best-looking raw guavas to do a little taste test and give it our best possible description for you. Here are the words that came to mind: sour apple, kiwi, pear, papaya, armpit. Lol! Some guavas are better than others, some people like em, some people hate em. Somehow the jam is a winner, though.

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    1. Thanks so much for the research and information! I’m cracking up as I read this, and personally am a little concerned about the armpit flavor, as I have never tasted armpit. I do like kiwi, pear, and papaya, though – so may have to give it a try! Keep on enjoying the jam, and you’ll have to let my know how those cocktails turn out!

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