Cooking with Guava Psidium guavaja L.

Guavas are a delight to eat and to cook with as they can be used in a variety of dishes, and contribute a wonderful tropical taste.

Guavas grown in Florida are of two types: the pink Florida guava, and the white Thai guava.

  • The Florida pink guava is sweet with a strong fragrance and is   most often used in dessert type dishes.

  • The white Thai guava has a milder flavor and can be eaten in its green state like an apple, or can be used in its ripe state, like the pink guava.

Below are a few tips to help you enjoy your guavas at their best!

Selecting Fruit

Guavas are picked from the tree when they are mature, but not ripe.  This means that the fruit has reached its full size and shape, but the starches inside the fruit have not yet converted to sugar. When those starches have changed into sugars, usually over a few days of sitting on the kitchen counter, the fruit will soften and emit that wonderful guava fragrance.

Florida PINK Guava – Pink guava from our growers will be carefully selected at the farm and will arrive ready to start ripening on the kitchen counter. It the market, look for pink guavas that are firm and free of soft spots. The skin will be green with a yellow tinge.

WHITE Thai guava – The white guavas ordered from our growers are also carefully selected and will arrive at your door ready to further ripen, or be used right away. At the market, choose a Thai guava that is free from any blemishes, or soft spots.The color of the Thai guava will be a bright green, like a Granny Smith apple.

Ripening

Again, this fruit is harvested when it is mature, but not ripe, and you may need to ripen it, depending on how you want to use your guava.

 

For the pink guavas, just leave them on the counter in the warmth of your kitchen, until the fruit yields to a gentle pressure and your kitchen is filled with that heavenly guava scent!

For the white guava, use it while it is firm, just like an apple, or let it soften a bit for a sweeter fruit.

Handling

The entire ripe fruit can be eaten, so it is easy to enjoy Florida guavas!

After washing the fruit, cut the fruit in half, scoop out the pulp, and enjoy it – seeds and all! The pulp has a similar texture to a pear, the taste is reminiscent of strawberries, and the aroma is intoxicating!

You can also eat guavas like you would an apple or a peach, biting right through the skin. The skin is packed with Vitamin C, so eat the entire fruit to get all the health benefits from your guava.

The white, or Thai guava, is eaten the same way as the pink ones, but is also can eaten while still firm. At this stage, the white guava has a crispy texture and flavor of a mild apple.

Storage

Well, how do you store your guavas once they are ripe?

  • Once both the pink and the white guavas are ripe, that is when they give under gentle pressure, use them within a day or two, or else put them in the refrigerator or freezer to make them last longer.

  • RIPE guavas will stay just fine for a few days in the refrigerator if kept in a plastic bag or container.

  • In the freezer, they last a lot longer, up to a year. To freeze guava, cut up the ripe guava into a freezer container, and cover with a light simple syrup. Allow a little extra space in the container for expansion. They also can be frozen without the syrup, but may turn a little brown. A little bit of lime juice will help keep the color. The texture of the pink and Thai guavas will change once frozen and thawed, but the flavor will remain.

Recipes

Both ripe guava types can be used in dessert dishes, made into jams, and /or to flavor meats. In Thailand, the White guavas are sliced like an apple, and the slices are then dipped in a dry salt-and-granulated sugar dip seasoned with crushed chili peppers called prik kab kleua,  or dipped in a savory chili dip prepared by blending palm sugar with fish sauce heated to a caramel-like consistency called nam pla wan.

Anyway you try them, you are sure to enjoy the exotic flavor of guava.

Recipes

Pan Fried Guava Glazed Chicken

A very simple and colorful entree using fresh guava or guava’s frozen in a zip lock bag for off-season pleasure.

 

​4 Chicken breasts

1/4 cup Flour

To taste Salt and Pepper

2 oz. Butter

2 oz. Triple Sec

1 clove Garlic, minced

1 tsp. Ginger, grated

1/2 cup Fresh Guava, seedless, julienned (approx. 2 guavas)

Vegetable oil

DIRECTIONS

Season flour and lightly dredge chicken breasts.

Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat.

Pan fry chicken breasts ‘til golden brown on both sides.

When nearly cooked, drain oil from the pan and deglaze pan with Triple Sec Chicken is still in the pan. The sugars in the Triple Sec will thicken and glaze the chicken.

Turn down heat and add minced garlic, ginger and guava (the 3-G Trilogy!). Heat until you can smell the exotic aromas of the 3 G-Trilogy open up!

Move chicken breast to the side of the pan, and cream in butter.

Remove chicken breasts and pour guava butter sauce over each breast. The guava slices are your garnish.

Lori A. Wong, LDEI Honolulu Chapter

 

Spicy Green Salad with Guava Vinaigrette

Serves 4

1/4 lb. guava, peeled and seeded, cut into ?4inch pieces

1/4 cup balsamicup vinegar

1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1 piece star anise

6 Tablespoons grapeseed oil

2 endive

1/2 lb. mixed spicy greens: such as: arugula, dandelion, frisee

2 oz. Ricotta salata cheese, shaved finely

DIRECTIONS

To make the vinaigrette, combine the guava, vinegar, pepper and star anise in a small saucepan. Add 2 Tablespoons water and bring to a simmer. Reduce the heat to low and cook until the guava is tender, 15 to 20 minutes.

Remove the star anise and puree the mixture in a blender. Slowly add grapeseed oil with blender on medium speed. Strain through fine meshed sieve. Adjust seasoning if necessary with pepper.

For salad, remove any tom outer endive leaves and slice into rounds, avoiding the core. Combine the endive and spicy salad mix in a salad bowl. Add sea salt and just enough dressing to coat the greens. Garnish with ricotta salata cheese shavings and serve.

Diane Forley, LDEI Los Angeles chapter

Guava Pie with Cinnamon and Cardamom

​​INGREDIENTS

1 pie crust

10 cups guava, frozen or fresh, sliced, and seeds removed

1/3 cup sugar

1/4 cup guava nectar

1 tsp ground cinnamon I tsp ground cardamom

1/2 cup guava preserves

DIRECTIONS

Combine guava, sugar, guava nectar, cardamom and cinnamon in a large skillet. Toss gently over medium high heat until liquid starts to bubble. Simmer 2 minutes. Remove guava from skillet with a slotted spoon to a colander over a bowl. Drain weft. Add syrup from bowl to skillet. Boil until juices in skillet are thick and reduced to about 2/3 cup. Mix in the guava preserves. Cool and then add the guava pieces.

Preheat oven to 375°. Place piecrust into pie pan and spoon filling into it. Top with a second crust or a lattice.. Bake until filling bubbles and crust is golden, about 45 minutes. Cool completely.

Serve with vanilla ice cream.

Jane King, LDEI  Austin, Texas

 

Five-Minute Guava Ice Cream

This is the easiest, tastiest dessert one can serve-fresh, fairly light, and it takes only 5 minutes to make! One can use the sapote also with this recipe. Delicious!

INGREDIENTS

6 medium or 8 small ripe guavas

1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar

Juice of a lime

1 pint heavy whipping cream

1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract

DIRECTIONS

Scoop out the flesh of the guavas, chop coarse, and place in a bowl. Sprinkle with sugar and stir to mix. Place guava pieces in a plastic cup container with a lid and freeze.

To make the ice cream:

Just before serving, place the whipping cream in the bowl of a food processor, along with the vanilla. Process until cream stands in firm peaks. Remove the guava from the freezer, microwave for a few seconds to release the mixture, and break up the mixture with a sharp knife.

Add the guava to the cream and pulse, just until the guava is mixed with the cream and is firm, about 30 seconds.

Pile the ice cream in pretty glasses and serve!

Suzanne Dunaway Los Angeles Chapter of Les Dames d’Escoffier

© 2020 by Tropical Fruit Growers of South Florida - Photo Credits: Ian Maguire & Shaun Wright