Have you had your guava today? Do not miss out on the chance of have one of nature’s best gifts, especially when it’s in season.
Guavas are currently in season here in the Caribbean and I just can’t get enough of them. You know that there are some fruits and foods that if you have it too often you can get tired of it? Not so with guavas and me, perhaps it is because I seek out various ways to enjoy this perfect fruit.
Do you know that researches have shown that guava contains Vitamin A and B and has high amounts of Vitamin C? Vitamin A is important to vision and bone growth, Vitamin B supports and increases metabolism, it helps maintain healthy skin and muscle tone among other things. Vitamin B also enhances the immune and nervous systems. Vitamin C makes the connective tissue, which binds the body cells together, it aids in the building and maintenance of skin and linings of the digestive system. Actually, some scientists have argued that the guava is a better source of Vitamin C than the orange as the skin of the guava unlike that of the orange can be eaten. It is in the skin that a lot of the Vitamin C is found. Guavas have high amounts of pectin (a gelling agent), that’s why they’re so easy to make into jam.
There are reports of guava aiding in the control of blood pressure and the lowering of cholesterol. And guava is a real superstar at solving gastrointestinal problems. Look, guavas even make you look good – tests have shown that the pulp consists of the mineral, potassium, which helps keep the skin glowing, fresh and wrinkle-free. The minerals and vitamins found in guava provide moisture and blood nutrients to the skin, hence younger looking skin. So I ask you again, have you had your guava today?
If you’re heading out to get some guavas, here are a few things you should know (that is, if you are new to guavas) – they come in a variety of colours and sizes. The white-fleshed guavas grow large and round and the skin smooth. The skin of the white-flesh guava remains green in colour when ripe. The peach-orange-fleshed ones are round in shape also but are generally smaller in size; when ripe, the skin of the guava is pale yellow. The pink-red-fleshed guavas grow large and are not always perfectly round, when ripe, their skin is cream-yellow. Now there are more than just the three varieties mentioned here, depending on where you are, you may find additional varieties but the properties are basically the same. When selecting guavas for purchase, ensure the guava is firm and it should give to slight pressure. Watch out for soft spots that are a sign of decay. You will know if you are buying a ripe guava, as they are rather fragrant. Do not be afraid to sniff it, be careful though, you may become intoxicated with the sweet aroma and bite into the guava right there and then! Guavas should be kept at room temperature but once you’ve cut it, place the remainder in the refrigerator.
Guavas can be eaten as is – just bite into it. You can opt to peel, slice and deseed it before eating but here’s my advice, do not peel it, just wash it and cut off the bottom where it would have flowered. Slice the flesh and eat it but do not throw the away the core with the seeds, add them to a blender along with a little water, puree, pass through a sieve to remove the seeds and drink the juice as your natural intake of fruit. Alternately, you can do like I do at times which is to add more water to the blender along with some simple syrup, blend, strain, chill or add ice and you’ll have guava drink.
This year I have been playing around with some different ways of using the guava pulp, I thought that jam would be great as a filling for the Guyanese pine tart and so I made a chunky-style jam and made the tarts. I also made turnovers with the jam – using the same short crust pastry as I did with the pine tarts just shaped differently. Another way I used the guava flesh was to make Guava Tart Bread. Oh-my-goodness! Everyone loved these – I had 6 tasters try the tart bread. When you make it, be sure to let it cool completely before eating it, when it’s cool, the guava flavour is much more pronounced. Mom and I tried it when it was still warm, we were excited you know, we loved it then, but later in the evening when we had it with some friends as dessert, we were bowled over by how much better it tasted. On the way home from visiting our friends’ mom asked if I had any more of the Guava Tart Bread at home – unfortunately I didn’t but that is how good it was! Next week I want to try making Guava Duff – very popular in The Bahamas. Hmmm… guava ice cream and guava sorbet should be excellent too. Don’t you think?
Are you still reading the column? Go get some guavas!
1½ cups all-purpose flour
1½ teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
¼ teaspoon ground all spice
2 eggs, room temperature
½ cup white granulated sugar
½ cup melted butter
1 teaspoon vanilla essence
4 cups thinly sliced guava pulp (see note below)
1 cup icing sugar
1½ tablespoons milk or water
2 medium bowls
1 large bowl
1 hand mixer
1 (11-inch) tart pan or 10 regular tartlets pans
1 baking sheet
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F with rack in the middle.
2. Grease tart pan with vegetable shortening and set aside on baking sheet.
3. Add flour, baking powder, salt, cinnamon and all spice in bowl and mix thoroughly.
4. Beat eggs and sugar together in large bowl with hand mixer on high speed for 3 minutes. The mixture should be thick, white and creamy.
5. Add melted butter and vanilla to sugar-egg mixture. Mix well.
6. Add sliced guavas to the mixture and coat thoroughly, using a spatula.
7. Add flour and incorporate fully.
8. Pour batter into prepared pan and bake for 50 – 55 minutes or until an inserted skewer comes out clean.
10. 9. Cool on wire rack completely.
Mix icing sugar and orange juice; drizzle icing over tart-bread. Slice and serve.
* Peel guavas and slice the flesh avoiding the seeds. Save the skin and core with seeds for jam or juice.
* If you do not have a tart pan, use a 9 x 5-inch loaf pan and bake for 1 hour and 20 minutes or until an inserted skewer comes out clean.
* If you do not want to drizzle with the icing, then use ¾ cup sugar for the recipe