Guavas and pomegranate always rekindle memories of summer holidays from my childhood. I don’t actually recall eating these fruits in the U.S. I was either living abroad or traveling to countries where the climate was warm enough for these plants to thrive (e.g. India). Now I live in hot, sunny Southern California, where these fruits abound in the backyard.
In the late summer, the strawberry guavas began to ripen on the trees. These guavas are small with a yellow skin and creamy yellow pulp (left picture below), with a taste ranging from lightly sweet to slightly tart. With exposure to the sun, some of these little guavas darken to a deeper yellow and become increasingly sweet. The seeds are soft and the entire fruit (minus the remnants of the flower, opposite the stem) is edible.
In early September, the first white guava fruit fell from the tree and was brought into the house. This guava is much larger than the strawberry guava (right picture above). This single white guava permeates the entire kitchen with a sweet, rose fragrance that I can only describe as refreshing and subtly intoxicating at the same time. The fragrance originates from the remnants of the flower, petals and stamen, opposite the stem on each fruit. This fruit has a creamy white flesh, with soft edible seeds and a wonderful balance of sweetness and tartness in the same bite. For the last month, we’ve been enjoying large numbers of these absolutely delicious guavas on a daily basis. These guavas have relatively low acidity and for a change, they pair well with a sprinkle of black salt (a.k.a. kala namak in Hindi).
In the last week or so, the third variety of guava tree began to fruit – the pink guava. This guava tree is significantly taller (15-20ft) than the white guava and strawberry guava trees. The pink guava shares a tropical, but less saccharine fragrance and has pink or salmon-colored flesh and harder seeds. The daily harvest of these pink guavas has been massive – so much so that we decided to embark on a little cooking experiment: guava preserves. It turned out absolutely delicious! The recipe is provided below. The recipe made a little more than 2 x 16 oz jars and took approx 1 hour.
Guava Preserves Ingredients
- 3.5 lbs guava (pink or common guava, both yellow and green, stems removed and quartered)
- 3 cups water
- pinch of salt
- 3 Mexican key limes (green or yellow)
- 1 cup brown sugar
- pinch of saffron
- 2-4 tablespoons chia seeds (optional)
Directions: Select a mix of yellow and green guavas, as the green guavas contain more natural pectin to help the preserves thicken. In a large saucepan, add the quartered guava (petals and stamen removed), water and pinch of salt. Allow mixture to come to a boil. Cook on medium heat, stirring often to ensure the mixture doesn’t stick, for 25-30 minutes or until the pulp has completely softened. Remove from heat and allow to cool for 10 minutes. Pour the entire mixture into a strainer placed over a bowl. Strain the mixture to separate any skins and large seeds, using a strainer or food mill. Be sure to scrap off all pulp that clings to the bottom of the strainer! Return the mixture to the saucepan and add the brown sugar.
Allow the mixture to come to a slow boil and cook for 15 minutes, then add the lime juice, saffron and chia seeds. Cook for an additional 10 minutes. Adjust the sweetness, color and tartness with additional brown sugar, saffron and lime juice, respectively. I did not have to add any additional sugar or lime juice. The chia seeds are optional but add a bunch of nutrients, fiber and act as a thickening agent. The preserves should be very thick but will not be jelly-like unless you decide to add in store-bought fruit pectin (for proportions, refer to the instructions on the fruit pectin box).
When the preserves are partially cooled, spoon or pour into a steam-cleaned, dry glass jar. After the guava preserves have completely cooled, seal the jar with a lid and refrigerate.
These guava preserves will have a very, very thick sauce consistency. I could call it guava butter! The guava preserves are tropical, sweet, tart and fragrant — basically magical on a warm, toasted English muffin with tea or coffee! Enjoy!