I love fruit. I get super excited when I think about mangoes – one bountiful summer I ate so many I turned a little orange – the deep velvet of sea grapes makes me swoon and I splurge on grapes so I can eat them for dessert. There are few fruits that I don’t particularly care for – dillies, which taste a little… fuzzy; papaya, which, I don’t know, seems like a sad cantaloupe and… well, I think that’s it.
We import the typical apples, oranges, stone fruit and berries from North America. They’re available year round. Our local fruit agriculture still happens on a small enough scale that we have to wait for each species in its season, though I actually prefer it this way. As the months fly by on the calendar there’s always something yummy to look forward to. Cherries and tamarinds give way to guineps and avocados (which we call pears), and they in turn make way for soursops and hog plums, then pigeon plums and jujus. And I’m missing so many! Coconuts, sugar bananas and mangoes, coco plums, pineapples, mulberries and gooseberries – does sugar cane count? I could go on.
But anyway, I’m here to talk about guavas, which are at the end of their season, sad to say. We have a few varieties: the green skin one (its skin stays green when its ripe), the yellow skin one (its skin turns from green to yellow), and the strawberry! An elusive little plant that I’ve only heard stories about and have never been able to enjoy myself. For yet another year, our strawberry guava tree was too shy to put out any of its signature red fruit, but the regular degular yellow plant rolled up on schedule. It put out guavas almost faster than we could eat them. Almost.
Aside from munching on them wholesale, Bahamians use guavas for duffs, cakes, swiss rolls and jams. My grandfather was fond of guava paste, which you can buy in a round tin from the store. He’d cut it into slices and we’d enjoy it with a little cheddar cheese. I put guava into my salads and smoothies, and thanks to my aunt, who loves to make juice with local fruits, get to enjoy it as a cool drink. This recipe is super simple, and whenever you have some guavas you should definitely give it a try.
We know so much about the health benefits of fruit from the more developed countries in the world, and I wish we had similar knowledge about Caribbean fruit. I figured guavas probably have vitamin C – although I can’t really explain why – and in doing a little google search for this post I found out that they in fact have tons of vitamin C, way more than oranges. They also have plenty of fibre and are a great source of vitamin A, B vitamins, minerals like magnesium and potassium, and a host of other nutrients.
I like my fruit on the just-ripe side, so when I bite into a guava it’s still firm, with a great crunch from the skin and the seeds. Guavas aren’t too sweet, but they can have a nasty surprise inside – worms! >.< – so I always take a look after that first bite.
For this juice you’ll need just three ingredients: guavas, water and sugar. Wash and slice the guavas, put them in a blender with sugar and enough water to cover. Blend it all together and check the taste and consistency. If it’s too thick, add a little more water. Not sweet enough? You’re the Almighty Bruce of your guava juice! Pour some more sugar in there! When you’re satisfied, strain out the seeds and put it in the fridge to chill, or serve it right away with some ice cubes. Yum.