What’s Blooming: The Guava: A Tropical Wonder


GuavaMost health experts recommend eating at least five servings of fruits and vegetables on a daily basis. For most, common fruits such as apples, oranges and bananas come to mind. While these fruits certainly contain nutrients that are beneficial to overall health, tropical “superfruits,” like guava, can be an exotic taste alternative. Guavas are packed with vitamins and nutritional value that equals or surpasses classic produce favorites.

Born of the Myrtaceae family and of the Psidium Guajava L., the guava is a round, ovoid or pear-shaped fruit that normally spans between 2 inches and 6 inches in size. Though the origin of the guava is uncertain due to widespread distribution by man, birds and animals over many years, it is believed to have originated from southern Mexico or Central America. The largest guava plantation in America is located in Hawaii and it is also grown commercially in Florida and California.

The apple guava is the most recognized species of guava fruit, as it is grown commercially and most commonly traded internationally. For the most part, the guava is soft when ripe, with an inner layer of flesh that is creamy in texture and has a color spectrum ranging from white to near red. The seedy central pulp of the fruit is darker in color and refreshingly juicy. However, don’t let the mention of seeds deter you from enjoying this delectable fruit. In good varieties of guava, the small seeds are soft and fully edible.

When immature, the guava is green and hard to the touch with gummy insides. The fruit normally matures within 90–150 days after flowering. Ripe guavas are appetizing, but they bruise very easily and are highly perishable. The guava fruit can be harvested using mechanical tree shakers and plastic nets for processing. Guavas that will be shipped and marked fresh must be clipped when full-grown but still underripe, and handled very delicately.

The guava fruit is not only a palate pleaser but does wonders for the body as well. Guavas aid in digestion, are low in sodium, high in potassium and offer a rich abundance of vitamins A and B, folate, magnesium, fiber, calcium and iron. In fact, guava contains nutrients that can lower the risk of cardiovascular disease, and the edible rind of the guava fruit contains five times more vitamin C than an orange. The reserve of antioxidants in guava fruit is also relatively high.

Candies, sweet preserves, mouthwatering jellies, jams and marmalades, and juice can be created from guava fruit. This array of uses allows culinary artists of all degrees to flex their creative abilities. Raw guavas are eaten whole, in the style of a fresh apple, served in succulent slices or as an exotic garnish on a crisp salad. Guava can be employed in the creation of syrups or in countless recipes for tempting pastries, butter and sauces. Guava powder can be used to flavor many items, including frozen desserts like decadent ice cream or premium gelato. In all, the guava is an extremely healthy fruit with multiple uses, to be enjoyed alone or used for the creation of an edible masterpiece.

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