The large display of guavas in the supermarket had a heady aroma that filled the entire area. It was sweet and fruity, but there was also a floral note that was entrancing. I just started to grab the first ones I saw. But what was I going to do with them?
I have worked with guava paste in the past, in empanadas among other dishes. But I've never used the fresh fruit. So a little research was in order.
"There are a number of guavas in the world, but the common guava — the one most available here — resembles a pale smooth-skinned lemon," says "Joy of Cooking." That was the variety in the market, not the green ones with a pink interior that are commonly depicted. "Choose blemish-free fruits, as yellow and soft as you can find, and ripen them at room temperature, out of the sun, or in a closed paper bag. ... Ripening time is unpredictable, so check daily and turn the fruits often. When they are ripe, refrigerate in a perforated plastic bag."
From that point, things get both easier and more complex."Guavas are simple to serve. Just trim off the blossom end, slice in half either way and eat with a spoon — the seeds of most guavas are edible. For fruit cups and salads, peel with a vegetable peeler and cut in slices," according to "Joy," which is largely indispensable in such matters.
Trouble is, the cookbook offered no recipes for guavas.
I did find three simple recipes in my favorite go-to guide for all things fruit, "A Passion for Fruit" by Lorenza De'Medici. They ran a gamut of styles, and I made all three in the course of the evening, just to get that aroma into the kitchen.
Guava Sautéed with Chives
was a sweet-savory side dish. Guava Sauce
with a lively hit of chili powder went perfectly with a pork chop for dinner. And dessert was a decadent Guava Ice Cream
made with heavy cream.
All of the recipes talked about seeding the guava before using, and one
website mentioned that there were often anywhere from 112 to 535 per fruit, but no one really said how to do it. I tried picking at a few with a knife tip, but that seemed to take away too much flesh with it. Juicing the fruit would probably work, but the recipes I had didn't want juice. So, I simply left the seeds in. I do that with raspberries and blackberries. I don't mind those seeds. I will say that the guava seeds are a little larger and slightly harder, so that really could be a problem for some.
The next day I went back for more. Now that I've started, I can see more ways of using guavas, from salads to tarts. Or, as a friend suggested, you could swirl guava purée into an icy glass of horchata. How do you like to use them?