Guava 101 – The Basics

If you’re new to guava and are just not sure what to do with it, check out the info below. It should help!

Guava 101 – The Basics

About Guava
Guava is the fruit of a relatively small tree that appears to have originated in southern Mexico through Central America. There is historical data about guava dating back to the 1500’s but the tree probably originated earlier than that. It is now grown around the world in warm climates.

The fruit can be round, oval, or pear-shaped, and 2 to 4 inches long. There are as many as 150 varieties, differing in color, seediness, and flavor. The flesh can be white, pink, yellow or red. The entire fruit is edible–seeds, peel and all. However, the seeds are very hard and many people cook the fruit then strain out the seeds. The better varieties are soft when ripe, with creamy flesh, and a rind that softens to be fully edible. The flavor of the pulp may be sweet or sour, depending on its ripeness. It has been described as sweet-tart, like that of a strawberry, pear, and pineapple combined.

Nutrition Tidbits
Guava is known for being rich in Vitamin C, which is found mostly in the rind, but also to a lesser degree in the flesh. It has a good amount of fiber and is low in sugar.

Immature fruits are astringent. That property has been used in the tropics to aid gastrointestinal disorders such as diarrhea and dysentery.

How to Select Guava
Look for guavas that are free of bruises, blemishes, and soft spots. Avoid fruit that is spotted, mushy, or very green. A just ripe guava will give to gentle pressure like an avocado, and will have a floral aroma. Firm guavas should be ripened before being eaten. An unripe guava will be astringent.

How to Store Guava
If the guavas you purchase are hard and not ripe, keep them at room temperature out of direct sun until they begin to soften, like an avocado. Once they are ripe, place them in the refrigerator in a plastic or paper bag and use as soon as possible within 2 to 4 days. Ripe guavas bruise easily and are highly perishable.

To store cut guava, wrap it tightly in plastic and store it in the refrigerator for up to 4 days. If you need to keep it beyond that, it would be best to wrap it tightly and store it in the freezer.

How to Preserve Guava
Ripe guava can be pureed and frozen in an air-tight container. Frozen guava will keep for about 8 months.

How to Prepare Guava
Wash the entire guava under cold water. Pat it dry with a towel. Place it on a cutting board and cut it in half. The seeds can be scooped out if desired, but they are completely edible, although they are hard to chew. The pulp can be scooped out and used, or it can simply be sliced and eaten, or cooked as needed. If you cut into a guava and the flesh is brown, it is spoiled; discard it.

Cooking/Serving Methods
Raw guava is often sliced or cubed and served in desserts like you would use pears, simply eaten out of hand, or added to a tropical salad.

They can be puréed and strained to flavor poultry or pork sauces or as flavoring for mousses, ice cream bases, whipped cream or custards.

In cultures where guava is eaten on a regular basis, the fruit is more often cooked or stewed. The seeds are usually removed, strained, then the pulp and rinds are stewed in a sugar syrup and served with cream cheese.

Rich guava paste, guava cheese, and guava syrup are sweet staples in cultures where guava are common. Guavas are also often used in pies, cakes, puddings, sauces, ice cream, jam, butter, marmalade, chutney, relish, catsup, and other products.

Dehydrated guavas may be ground to a powder and used to flavor ice cream, confections and fruit juices, or boiled with sugar to make jelly, or utilized as pectin to make jelly of low-pectin fruits.

Other ideas for using guava:
* Add to juices or smoothies

* Poach guava in wine or a spice syrup in place of pears

* Add sliced guava on top of cakes or meringues

* Cook guava into a compote or sauce and use it to top pancakes, desserts, or oatmeal

Herbs/Spices That Go Well With Guava
Basil, chili peppers, cinnamon, cloves, ginger, juniper, lavender, mint, poppy seeds

Other Foods That Go Well With Guava
Fruits: Apples, bananas, citrus fruits, coconut, huckleberries, kiwi, lemon, lime, mango, papaya, pear, pineapple, plum, star fruit, strawberries

Proteins: Cashews, hazelnuts, macadamia nuts

Vegetables: Onion, salad greens

Dairy: Cream, cream cheese, goat cheese, yogurt

Sweets and Other: Honey, olive oil, phyllo dough, rum, sugar, vanilla, white chocolate

Recipe Links
Agua de Guayaba (Guava Drink)

Guava Recipes

How to Eat and Cook with Guava (4 Recipes)

Guava-Stuffed Chicken with Caramelized Mango

Roast Pork Loin with Pickled Caramelized Guava

Guava Recipes (268)

For the Love of Guava: Easy Guava Oatmeal Bars

Banana Guava Smoothie

Strawberry, Mango, Guava Smoothie

Guava Pineapple Smoothie

About Judi
Julia W. Klee (Judi) began her journey enjoying “all things food” in elementary school when she started preparing meals for her family. That love of food blossomed into a quest to learn more and more about health and wellness as related to nutrition. She went on to earn a BS Degree in Food and Nutrition, then an MS Degree in Nutrition. She has taught nutrition and related courses at the college level to pre-nursing and exercise science students. Her hunger to learn didn’t stop upon graduation from college. She continues to research on a regular basis about nutrition as it relates to health. Her hope is to help as many people as possible to enjoy foods that promote health and wellness.


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  1. Pingback: Guava 101 - What Goes With Guava | EpersianFood

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