September 30, 2011
It’s September and strawberry guava season in San Diego. For me, it brings pleasant memories of guava jam and jelly, Grandma Bell, my sister, Barbara and friend, Mrs. Blake. You can read my reflections and see photos of guavas on an earlier post, Strawberry Guavas.
Guava trees grow quickly and produce a bounty of fruit. Usually there’s an ebb and flow of this very flavorful, tangy, sweet fruit through much of the year with the most fruit in September here at the coast.
The early harvest was made into guava jam from a recipe given to me by Mrs. Blake, an elderly friend here in Point Loma. Her family had a guava ranch in Mission Hills, established in the 1880’s.
The next wave brought 16 pounds of guavas from my tree which is about nine feet tall and four years old.
The guavas were cooked down and run through my grandmother’s food mill to produce a rich, flavorful puree.
A few weeks later I used the Squeezo Strainer (on the right) to process another 14 pounds of guavas from my tree.
When I lived in Massachusetts I used the Squeezo with friends to make about 50 gallons of applesauce each season from apples grown in our home orchard. Nice to press the Squeezo into service again. It hasn’t been used in 25 years.
Here are two quarts of the puree. I freeze most of it in small amounts and share with friends.
My favorite way to use the guava puree is stirred into Greek yogurt with a little sprinkle of sugar. It’s also nice over sliced fresh pears or bananas. Last night I chopped a very large Gordon apple from our tree and microwaved it with the usual spices, dried cranberries and orange juice. To serve, I drizzled a spoonful of guava puree atop the apples. Or, you can baste guava puree mixed with teriyaki or barbeque sauce on pork tenderloin as it cooks. For a refreshing drink I put a few tablespoons of guava puree in a glass and add sparkling water. Color and taste are amazing.
After cooking some rhubarb from the garden, I swirled in guava puree. It was heavenly, but did require added sugar.
I purchased my strawberry guava tree at Clausen Nursery in Vista, CA. (Psidium cattlianum). Read more about strawberry guavas here. In Hawaii and Florida they are considered an ecological threat. Strawberry guavas grow easily from seed which is available from Trade Winds Fruit.
Some describe strawberry guavas as a super fruit. I have not done the hard work to evaluate the peer-reviewed literature. At a recent scientific talk I attended on the the Mediterranean Diet, strawberry guavas were a suitable exchange for tomatoes (high in lycopene). With all the cancer in my family, I’m hopeful there are protective, bioactive compounds in strawberry guavas. Read a PubMed abstract on bioactive compounds here.
Curious to try something guava? Popular in the Caribbean and Spain, guava paste is typically sold in short, wide cans or plastic packaging. It’s usually available at Latin markets or in the Hispanic ingredients section of larger grocery stores. Links to recipes that use guava paste are here.