Guava is a lush, juicy tropical fruit native to Mexico, the Caribbean, Central America and northern South America. It is probably best known as an ingredient in tropical juices or smoothies, but it is also delicious eaten fresh. There are many different varieties of guava, with skin colour ranging from yellow to pale green, and its flesh can be white, vibrant pink, or deep red. Discover some fun facts about this delicious fruit with our A-Z of guavas, and read on for a complete guide to choosing, storing and eating guavas.
How to pick ripe guava
Guava changes colour as it ripens, from bright green to a lighter, yellow-green colour, sometimes with a hint of pink. Ripe fruit should give slightly when squeezed, and have a strong, musky, sweet scent that you can smell without even having to lift it to your nose. Check for ripeness, and also make sure that the fruit is free from blemishes or bruises. If only green, unripe fruits are available, you can buy these and ripen at home.
How to prep and eat guava: a step-by-step guide.
Step 1. Rinse the guava with cold water and dry with paper towels.
Step 2. Place the guava on a cutting board and cut in half with a serrated knife.
Step 3. If you don’t want to eat the skin, take a spoon and scoop out the insides. If you prefer your guava with the skin on, you can skip this step.
Step 4. Slice both halves into wedges, like an apple.
Step 5. If you don’t want to eat the seeds, you can remove them with your fingers or the tip of your knife. If you prefer to eat the seeds, you can also skip this step.
Step 6. Eat the guava. You can add seasonings like soy sauce, salt or vinegar, or simply enjoy it by itself.
Which parts of the guava can you eat?
Every part of a guava is edible, including the flesh, the seeds, and also the rind. Some people choose to remove the seeds and rind, leaving only the juicy flesh, but a guava is far more nutritious if you eat the whole thing. Just make sure you rinse the rind well to remove any wax.
If you want to enjoy the flesh without the chewy seeds, you can remove them and use them elsewhere. Guava seeds taste great as an ice cream topping, or added to salads. They can also be blended in a food processor and added to smoothies and juices.
What does guava taste like?
Guava has a unique flavour, which has been described as similar to papaya, or a cross between a pear and a strawberry. It has a sweet, musky aroma, with soft, juicy flesh. There are several varieties of guava, however, and each varies slightly in strength of flavour and sweetness. These are just a few of the most popular:
Lemon Guava, or Apple Guava is the most common variety of guava. It is quite sweet, with a hint of lemon, and has a strong scent and flavour.
Tropical Pink has a bright yellow skin with a pale pink flesh. It has a particularly strong scent, and a mild, sweet flavour.
Tropical Yellow, or Mexican Cream is a small guava with a creamy white skin and yellow flesh. It is sweeter than most varieties, and is mainly used in dessert dishes.
Tropical White is a particularly juicy variety, with white skin and yellow flesh.
Malaysian Red is known for its attractive red skin and pink flesh. It has a mild, sweet flavour, and is sometimes used as a decoration.
Can you cook guava?
Guava flesh is delicate, and will fall apart if overcooked, but guavas do taste great when lightly cooked and added to desserts like ice creams, sorbets or fools. They are also high in pectin, which makes them ideal for making jellies, jams and fruit pastes. Guava paste, sometimes called guava cheese, can be added to pastries, and is often used as an accompaniment for rich meats or cheeses. Guava syrup is a popular topping for buñuelos, a fried dough fritter from Spain and Latin America.
Recipes with guava
Guava jam: this deliciously different tropical jelly from Mexico in My Kitchen needs just three ingredients, and is so quick and easy to make. Try some spread on your morning toast, or as a topping for Greek yoghurt.
Strawberry guava smoothie: this refreshingly fruity smoothie from NDTV Food is a great way to cool down on a hot day. You can add any fruit you like, but strawberries are a great match for the sweet, strawberry-pear flavour of guava.
Spicy guava cookies: these unique, tropical flavoured cookies from NDTV Food are an irresistible mix of sweet and spicy, with guava essence and a dusting of fiery red chilli powder. The perfect treat for those who like their food to bite back.
Guava cheese: this quick and easy recipe from NDTV Food shows you how to make a popular condiment known as guava cheese, or guava paste. This dense, sliceable purée can be used in both sweet and savoury dishes, and is often served as an accompaniment to cheese. Discover more recipes using guava paste with our guide to the many uses of guava paste.
How to store guava
If your guavas are not quite ripe, leave them on the counter until they’re ready. You can speed up the ripening process by placing them in a paper bag with a ripe apple or banana, as both of these fruits give off ethylene gas, which encourages fruits around them to ripen.
Ripe guavas should be stored in a refrigerator. Again, place them inside a paper bag, this time to protect them from ethylene-producing fruits and avoid over-ripening. Guavas don’t stay fresh for long, so make sure you eat them within the next couple of days.
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