Â At this time of the year as you drive up and down our roads the pungent smell of ripe guavas follow you almost everywhere you go.Â So many guava trees grow wild all over the countryside that much of the fruitÂ goes unpicked and just falls to the ground to rot.Â We don't pick the ones on the ground because they are probably already wormy.
There are several varieties of guavasÂ (Psidium Guajava)Â Â and some are grown for commercial use; for juice, jelly and other products, but the ones I am talking about are the wild guavas.Â Not too big, not quite as sweet, roundish yellow on the outside and pinkish red on the inside.Â All guavas contain a lot of vitamin C.Â Actually much more than an orange!
In my article about our Labor Day picnic to Kalopa Park of a week or so ago, I mentioned that on the way home from the picnicÂ we spotted a little stand of guava trees and stopped on the side of the road to pick some ripe ones.Â Â Â We ended up with about 10 pounds of the fruit.Â Â
Usually with that amount of guavas I would have chosen to make guava shells in syrup (see link below) but these were not as large, so I decided to use them all in making a big batch of maramalade.
First wash and barely trim the ends.Â I quartered them and placed them in a large stockpot withÂ about 5 - 6 cups of sugar.Â Â The amount of sugar can later be adjusted if you feel you need more,.Â It all depends on how naturally sweet the fruit might be.Â Do not add any water, the guavas will release a lot of liquid.
Cook down at medium-low temperature stirring every once in a while with a wooden spoon, until the mixture forms its own syrup.Â Â When it boils down to a nice syrupy consistency, place through a food mill, chinois or medium mesh colander.Â Â You might have to do this in batches.Â Discard the seeds and whatever chunky debris remains.Â Â If the marmalade is too thin, you can cook it down some more until it reaches the consistency desired.
Uses for thin marmalade:
*Use as syrup, over pancakes, waffles, pound cake or ice cream.Â Â
*Blend it with minced garlic and brush over chicken or pork to be grilled
or broiled.Â This last is a favorite of ours.
Guava marmalade in the glass bowl.Â Guava Mousse in the tall milkshake glass.Â Guava maramalade and vanilla ice cream in parfait glass.
Cubans love to combine guava with cream cheese.Â This time, besides spooning some plain marmalade in a small bowl with a piece of cream cheese, we also added some to vanilla ice cream in the blender to make a milkshake type drink.Â It actually came out like a very light mousse.Â Â Â We also added some to a parfaitÂ glass with vanilla ice cream.
HoweverÂ we decideÂ to eat it; as a fruit sauce, a marinade for chicken, syrup, guava shells, maramalade, milkshake, mousse-drink or as part of a parfait, the guava never fails to take me back to childhood days growing up in Cuba.
These and several other recipes using guavas can be found in my Tropical Taste cookbook
Other articles about guavas:
Stalking the Wild GuavaÂ - July 07
The "humble" GuavaÂ - October 06
Sonia Martinez, Gather Food Correspondent
Sonia's column, 'Tropical Taste' is a regular twice-monthly feature of Gather Essentials: Food.
Sonia is a cookbook author and freelance food writer for several publications in Hawaii, and is also a Hawaii Island Journal restaurant reviewer in partnership with her son Anthony Mathis. Â She lives in a beautiful rural rainforest area on the Big Island of Hawaii.
You can keep up with Sonia's adventures and ongoing love affair with Hawaii by joining her network, or visiting her food & garden blog at Sonia Tastes Hawaii.