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Foods

Guava
Why Eat It
Varieties
Availability
Shopping
Storage
Preparation
Nutrition Chart


Why Eat It

The guava plant was domesticated more than 2,000 years ago; and it is common throughout most tropical regions where it enriches the diet of millions of people. A tropical fruit believed to have originated from Central America, guava is a good source of lycopene, beta-carotene, and vitamin C, and is an excellent source of soluble fiber. Current research suggests that consumption of guava fruit may reduce LDL (the "bad") serum cholesterol. Another health benefit attributed to guava is its antimicrobial potential in combating certain bacteria such as Staphylococcus aureus and beta-streptococcus group A. Guava is employed as a natural medicine by people who live in the tropics as a treatment for diarrhea.

Varieties

While guava is grown throughout the world, it is often plagued by fruit-fly infestations, which cuts down on the amount of guava imported to the U.S. Hawaii produces some guava as does California. Florida grows guava as well. Guava come both white-fleshed and red-fleshed (both are grown in Florida); some red-fleshed varieties have a pinkish flesh. Although there are many other varieties of guava grown in tropical regions worldwide, the following are available in the U.S.:

Blitch: Blitch guavas are a tart flavored variety with light pink flesh and numerous seeds

Patillo: Patillos are a pink-fleshed guava that is better for cooking and processing as its flavor is slightly acidic.

Red Indian: Red-fleshed guava with numerous seeds.

Ruby: A sweet, red-fleshed guava with few seeds.

Supreme: A white-fleshed guava with few seeds.

Availability

Keep an eye out for this fragrant fresh fruit from late spring through early fall. Canned guava nectar, guava paste (a highly condensed, sweetened puree), and canned guava shells (guava halves in a sugar syrup) are available year round in Hispanic markets.

Shopping

When shopping for guavas, look for yellow (or faintly greenish-yellow) fruits that are fragrant and give to gentle pressure; if necessary, ripen at room temperature.

Storage

Ripe guavas bruise easily and are highly perishable. Once fully ripe use within two days. You can refrigerate guava, however, be aware that if you keep it in the refrigerator for more than two days the flesh becomes leathery.

Preparation

The guava fruit has a thin, light yellow skin, which may have a pinkish appearance. Within the fruit there is a pale, granular layer followed by a second darker one which encloses a juicy center filled with hard, yellow seeds. Peel and de-seed the fruit and use it in fruit salads, or scoop out the flesh with a spoon and eat it as is.

Slightly underripe guavas can be cooked and pureed as a condiment for meat or poultry, or as a dessert. Guava can be eaten as fresh fruit when ripe, prepared as a sauce or chutney, or cooked as a vegetable when green.

It can be processed for jam, jelly, nectar and fruit juices as well as used for flavoring other foods. Guavas are eaten out-of-hand, but are also delicious seeded and served sliced as dessert or in salads. Guava jelly is lovely on toast.

Nutrition Chart

Guava/2 fresh

92
Total fat (g)
1.1
Saturated fat (g)
0.3
Monounsaturated fat (g)
0.1
Polyunsaturated fat (g)
0.5
Dietary fiber (g)
9.7
2
Carbohydrate (g)
21
Cholesterol (mg)
0
Sodium (mg)
5


Date Published: 04/20/2005
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