Thursday, March 20, 2008


When it came to deciding what trees to plant into our orchard, my attitude was, anything goes. A cherry guava was one of those trees that I bought that I had no idea what I was getting. I’d never seen, let alone eaten, a cherry guava. I had no idea what the tree looked like. Nonetheless, I read in the catalogue that cherry guavas are suited to subtropical areas, so I figure, what the heck?

One thing that strikes me is that it is quite an attractive shrub. I could see it in a suburban backyard, no worries. Instead of murraya hedges, you could have cherry guava hedges. You get an ornamental and a fruit tree all at once.

So what do these cherry guavas taste like? Well, they taste a little like strawberries, sweet but a little sour as well. They are about 2-3 cm in diameter and do resemble a cherry, somewhat. To me, they are an acquired taste, and I eat them mainly because I read that these babies are high in Vitamin C too, and that with about 300mg per 100g of fruit, which is about 6 times the Vitamin C content of a citrus fruit.

Well, the cherry guava is now in season, and today I picked a big bowlful. We have far more fruit than we would ever eat, so again, I’ve resorted to preserving the crop by making some guava jelly. [Yes, by the way, I do have a paying job, plus the other job running the home. Jelly making gets accommodated by some creative multitasking].

My Queenslander mother-in-law showed me how to make guava jelly last year, and under her guidance, I had a bit of success. This is my first batch “solo”, using a recipe in Margaret Fulton Encyclopedia. It wasn’t so good. The jelly should set firm, but you should be able to spoon it out of the jar cleanly. My jelly set firm, all right, but it set “sticky” so that it is hard to spoon easily. Then I looked up another recipe, which directs you to use the pith and juice of a lemon or lime.(Margaret’s didn’t) Of course! I need pectin! Why didn’t I suss that with the first recipe? Anyway, I made the second batch using lime rind and juice. Bingo. Perfect guava jelly.

I’m glad I persevered, and tried another recipe. It got me thinking…some people might think that there is something wrong with their own abilities, when in fact, it is the recipe. I find I often override recipe instructions because my intuition tells me that they don’t sound “right”. I find, in particular, that cooking times are underestimated. Why is that? I don’t think it is my oven. Maybe recipe writers want to appeal to the “fast results” instinct, so they recommend short times. Often though, I think they sacrifice flavour.


Linda said...

If they are what I think they are, I liked them squashed on the side of the bowl with icecream I think.

I have seen one in a front yard and it looked very nice.

I have always wanted to grow one, but haven't yet.

Paola said...

Linda, I would recommend strawberry guavas. They are easy to grow here on the temperate south coast and nothing seems to bother them. They are a little astringent, so they need a bit of sugar - or ice cream - I find.

Kaz [curiousweaver] said...

Thanks for this post. I've a cherry guava tree and never know how to use the fruit. I'm near Taree NSW so was so happy I found your blog.

Paola said...

Kez, If you need help with a recipe for guava jelly, let me know and I will post it. Thanks for dropping by my blog!

Paula said...

Hi Paola

I've got a bowlfull of fruit off my small, self-seeded cherry guava tree and I'd love to try your successful recipe. Can you post it for me?