Remember how I mentioned the perfumed fragrance of Quince? Well, guavas are even more intense – more heady and intoxicating…just like the tropics.
About a month after we moved into this house, I had noticed a tree at one end of the car park that had an abundance of yellow round fruit on the tree as well as fallen and squished ones on the ground under it. It seemed as if every car that drove by this tree squished one on its way past. Upon closer examination, I must have gasped quietly when I realized that it was a guava tree and not just any old guava tree, it was the variety that I grew up with as a child in Hawaii – yellow on the outside and pink flesh on the inside. What other types of guavas are out there? One website, www.tropicalfruitworld.com.au on the Gold Coast in Australia has a great explanation on the different types of guavas (they list a total of 11) and I didn’t even know that there was one actually called “Hawaiian” which happens to be a green skinned, pink fleshed variety. Last year, the tree produced so much that I had enough to give away to people, to puree them and enough to make two batches of guava jelly. I don’t know what’s wrong this year but either the drought caused less fruit or perhaps it rained during flowering but there are very few on the tree and I am actually quite saddened by this. Ah well, this is nature and every year can’t be the same – I will just have to cherish the few that I do get this year. One of my favorite ways of eating guavas? Waiting until ripe and very fragrant, slicing in half and devouring it with just a tiny sprinkle of sugar.
A memorable childhood memory involving fresh guavas was going to my friend Sharyl’s house and making guava milkshakes:
Peel and puree guavas and pass through a mesh sieve to remove seeds. Add desired sugar to the guava puree and set aside. Then proceed to make a vanilla milkshake with a few scoops of good-quality vanilla ice cream, a splash of milk and add 2 to 4 Tbsp. of guava puree to taste. Enjoy!
Meanwhile, I’ve added some pictures of the bumper crop of guavas I had last year (since I didn’t have a food blog then). In bakeries throughout Hawaii, a regular feature is guava chiffon cake or liliko’i (passion fruit) chiffon cake. The chiffon cake is very airy and light and the sweet thickened guava puree on top and between the layers tastes amazing. My only complaint about commercial bakeries today is that to cut corners (in cost), so many use that “fake” cream that didn’t even get remotely close to a cow! I think so many people have forgotten what real whipped cream tastes like…and I digress (more on that topic another time). Anyway…I actually replicated the cake at home with REAL cream. The recipe I used was a basic chiffon recipe from The Joy of Cooking and the guava puree was thickened with corn starch (or arrowroot works too) and sugar, cooled and used to fill and top the cake – simple! Fabulous!