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Thursday, September 8, 2016

Guavas

Guavas:

About:

Guavas are common tropical  fruits cultivated and enjoyed in many tropical and subtropical regions.  The "apple guava" (Psidium guajava) is a small tree in the Myrtle family native to Mexico, Central America, and northern South America.  It is the most frequently eaten species often referred to as "the guava".   Soft, sweet, and fragrant, when ripe guavas are small, round or oval  with varying colors from yellow to pink to dark red.  Guavas have a pronounced and typical fragrance similar to lemon rind, but less sharp.  The outer skin may be rough often with a bitter taste, or soft and sweet.  Although the guava is cultivated and favored by humans, many animals and birds consume it readily dispersing its seeds in their droppings.  



History:

Guavas originated from an area thought to extend from Mexico or Central America and was distributed throughout tropical America and the Caribbean region..  They were adopted as a crop in subtropical and tropical Asia, the southern U.S. and tropical Africa.   One of the first references to guava fruit was made in 1526 in the West Indies.  They were not introduced in Florida until 1847. 

My Story:

I don not remember having guavas very often in the produce department, but I do remember having guava juice in cans down the juice aisle of the grocery department.  Guavas were not something we had in our house very often. 

Uses:

In Mexico the guava aqua fresca beverage is popular.  The entire fruit is a key ingredient in punch and the juice is often in culinary sauces both hot and cold.  In many countries guava is eaten raw typically cut into quarters or eaten like an apple.  It is known as the winter national fruit of Pakistan. Because of its high level of pectin guava is extensively used to make candies, preserves, jellies, jams, and marmalade, and also for juices.   
Wash the entire guava as the rind is edible.  Slice and eat the entire fruit or cut it in half and scoop out the insides.  Refrigerate any leftover cut fruit. 


Nutrition:

Guavas are rich in dietary fiber and vitamin C with moderate levels of folic acid.  A single guava contains 4 times the vitamin C as an orange.  Guavas are a very good source of vitamin A and flavonoids like beta-carotene, lycopene, lutein amd cryptoxanthin.  They are a very rich source of potassium and a moderate source of B-complex vitamins such as pantothenic acid, niacin, vitamin B-6.  Minerals present in guavas include magnesium, copper, and manganese.

Health Benefits:

Health benefits of guava include the treatment of diarrhea, dysentery, constipation, cough, cold, skin care high blood pressure, weight loss, and scurvy.  Intake of guava can help patients with diabetes.  The high level of dietary fiber in guava helps regulate the absorption of sugar by the body which decreases the chances of major spikes and drops in insulin and glucose in the body.
Adding guava to your diet can inhibit the growth and metastasis of cancerous cells.  Guavas are rich in lycopene, a powerful antioxidant that has been successful in reducing prostate cancer risk.
Guava helps reduce cholesterol in the blood and prevents it from thickening thereby maintaining the fluidity of blood and reducing high blood pressure.



Season: 

Late spring, summer, and early fall. 


Choosing and Storing:

Choose guavas that do not have any blemishes and give slightly to gentle pressure.
Avoid guavas that are hard or have blemishes.
Ripen guavas at room temperature for a day or two.  Refrigerate ripened guavas up to 4 days.  Frozen ripe  guavas will keep up to 8 months.

So..... Eat up!  Enjoy!  I'll show you how.


Simple but Good: 


Guava Jelly:

3 cups guavas, peeled and chopped
3 cups water
1 TBS apple cider vinegar
3/4 cup sugar
2 limes, juiced
1 tsp salt

Place all ingredients in a medium saucepan.  Bring to a boil.  Reduce heat to medium low and simmer for 30 minutes.
Remove from heat and let cool.  Pour mixture through a fine mesh sieve to separate the seeds.  Use a large spoon to press solids to release juices.
Return seedless mixture to saucepan and return to a boil.  Reduce to medium low and let simmer for 40 minutes, or until thickened. 
Remove from heat and let cool.  Pour into jars and refrigerate until use.  The jelly will thicken as it cools. 


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