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Strawberry Guavas - Sweet, Tangy and Good for You

strawberry-guava

Have you tried strawberry guavas yet?

A few weeks ago, our strawberry guava trees were covered in hundreds of fruits, and we were struggling to eat them all.

So, I did what any resourceful modern cook would do: I preserved them. In this case I decided to make fruit leather in my dehydrator, and it was a hit!

Strawberry guavas as truly the bees knees of fruits - they're not too sweet, not too sour and they're bursting with vitamin C and other nutrients that are good for you.

Psidium Cattleianum is a small round fruit that tastes like ripe strawberries but looks like a tiny pomegranate and belongs to the guava family.

If you live in Hawaii or another tropical place, chances are you know of its infamous reputation as a pest. Strawberry guava trees will grow and multiply with abandon, and there is currently a man-hunt (plant hunt?) on to eradicate them.

However, where I live these plants are treated as delicacies, with hiking trips and festivals organised to pick the ripe fruits in the forest and on farms. The locals know that the plant is too valuable as animal fodder, building material and for its medicinal uses to be eradicated.

photo credit: Starr Environmental via photopin cc

More than just a tasty fruit

strawberry-guava

We use the thin trunks of the strawberry guava tree to build fences on our property.

Image copyrighted by Pitaya (that's me!)

I remember the first time I tasted a strawberry guava. My husband had picked a small, round fruit from a tree and handed it to me. At first taste, I wasn't too impressed. The skin was leathery with a slight woody taste, and the inside flesh was sweet and good but the little seeds made the experience more annoying than life-changing.

Since then, I've discovered that if you eat the fruit when it's not ripe enough it can have a less than perfect taste and texture. But picked when deep red or left to soften on the counter for a couple of days this tropical fruit rivals the sweetest strawberry.

Not only that, the whole plant can be used in a variety of ways. The leaves are used as animal fodder and in a medicinal infusion, the seeds dried and used in musical instruments or art projects, and the wood itself makes a great building material.

My husband, who never misses an opportunity to use materials growing on our land to cut costs has made nearly all the paddocks and fences on the farm using strawberry guava tree trunks. Being abundant on our land as well as many forested areas of the island makes this wood accessible and free.

What to do with strawberry guavas

When they're in season, we pick crates of these small red fruits and then have the immense task of either eating or preserving them all.

Here's a list of treats that can be made with them.

  1. Jam
  2. Syrup
  3. Ice-cream and sorbet
  4. Jelly (Jell-O to Americans)
  5. Fruit leather
  6. Fruit sauce for pancakes or other desserts
  7. Cake
  8. Sweet and savoury sauce for meats
  9. Smoothies
  10. Fruit juice
  11. Mousse or baked custard
  12. Milkshake

My strawberry guava fruit leather recipe - It couldn't be simpler

strawberry-guava

My recipe produces chewy, sweet and very convenient rolls that will last for months if stored properly. They make a wonderful post-workout snack, lunchbox addition or flu season treat as they are full of Vitamin C and other immune enhancing goodies.

I use an Excalibur dehydrator which was pricy but worth every cent. You can use your oven but watch it carefully as results won't be as even.

Ingredients:

Ripe strawberry guavas

Sugar (optional)

Method:

1. Wash fruits. Place a food mill over a large bowl and mill the fruits until the skins and seeds are totally separated from the pulp.

2. Pour the pulp into a pot, add optional sugar to taste and bring to the boil. Let simmer 3 minutes, then cool completely.

3. Ladle the fruit mixture onto non-stick dehydrator sheets or a baking paper lined oven tray and spread evenly using a spatula or knife.

4. Dehydrate according to your machine's instructions, or place in the oven on the lowest possible temperature and check after an hour. It's ready when the leather isn't sticky to the touch.

5. Cool completely, then cut into long strips and roll up in baking paper.

What you'll need

How exotic is your taste?

Let us know whether you've tried out this tropical fruit, and what you thought about it.

Have you ever tasted the strawberry guava?

Health benefits of the strawberry guava

People eat this fruit because it tastes great, but it also happens to be an amazing source of nutrients. For every 100g of edible strawberry guava flesh, you will find:

69 calories

17.4g carbohydrates

5.4g fiber

37mg Vitamin C (49% of your recommended daily intake!)

21mg copper

17mg magnesium

27mg of phosphorus

282mg of potassium

As well as small amounts of Omega-3 , Omega-6 and Vitamin B1, B2 and B3

Where I live, the locals have used goyaviers, as they're known here for decades to relieve all sorts of health problems.

Fruits in the guava family are astringent and rich in potassium, making them useful in small amounts for cases of diarrhea, stomach aches and dysentery.

Conversely, those suffering from constipation are told to gorge on the fruit as the high fibre content helps get the bowels moving properly.

The vitamin rich fruit is in season just as the latest bouts of colds and the flu are going around. This is handy, as the large amounts of Vitamin C are wonderful for fighting seasonal illnesses.

The anti-oxidants and B vitamins contained in the fruit promote general health and energy, and I've heard several people say they make an infusion with the fruit skins and leaves to ease fatigue and beat bacterial infections.

More about strawberry guavas

Go on a virtual tour through a strawberry guava forest with Green Deane.

Great recipes from around the web

Share your opinion about the strawberry guava - Pest? Delicacy? or something else

Moral Man on November 03, 2019:

Is it possible to grow Strawberry Guava in a flowerpot indoors for much of the year? I askthis because where I live has a long cold winter and the squirrels will eat any plant or fruit thats left outdoors. Plus theres sprays, poisons, and vehicle exhaust fumes everywhere. Thats why I want to grow my Strawberry Guava plant indoors all year long.

Moral man on October 31, 2019:

How does one grow a Strawberry Guava plant inside a flowerpot? At what size and at what age does Strawberry Guava start to produce fruit when grown inside a flowerpot? Im looking to buy either the fresh fruit, or the frozen fruit, or a potted plant, or the seeds of Strawberry Guava? Where in Florida are the best places to find Strawberry Guava products? I want to have it shipped to my house in Long Island, Nes York. Im unabpe to travel to travel to Florida and any other far away location for various reasons. Thats why I want to have Strawberry Guava and other exotic fruits shipped to my house and sold in supermarkets here where I live. Bring the Strawberry Guava to supermarkets in Long Island and New York. At least selp the frozen fruit of Strawberry Guava. Tropical and sub tropical fruits are the best things in life.

Moral Man on September 29, 2019:

The computer cut me off. Strawberry Guava is a wonderful fruit and its about time the grocery stores and markets start selling them here where I live. Where in Florida is it grown? Is there anyone in Florida that will ship Strawberry Guava to other states such as New York and Long Island? Lets have this wonderful fruit to enjoy.

Moral Man on September 29, 2019:

I would love to eat Strawberry Guava but because they arent found here where I live its impossible. Im trying to contact an exotic fruit grower in Florida to see if they have Strawberry Guava in the hopes that they can ship it to me. Im in the Northeast U.S.

strawberry Guava is considered an invasive pest in places like Hawaii because it crowds out native plants. To me, its not a pest at all. To me its a wonderful, beautiful, healthy fruit. Its a food plant, and a food plant is more important and more valuable than a non food plant. All those Strawberry Guava trees in Hawaii could be used to supply supermarkets and grocery stores and could feed thousands of starving, homeless, poor people, and feed and delight exotic fruit lovers like me, and Im sure there are fruit eating animals and fruit eating birds that would benefit from this fruit. The Hawaiian people dont know what a valuable treasure they have. Mosquitoes, centipedes, ants, ticks, poison ivy, widow spiders, recluse spiders, scorpions, and rattlesnakes are pests, but the Strawberry Guava is not. Strawberry Guavas are one of the best tasting and healthiest fruits in the world. Dont poison them and dont cut them down. Wild fruit trees such as Strawberry Guava is a blessing. If one is lost or stranded in the wilderness with no food, the presence of wild fruit trees can save one's life by providing both food and fluid for nourishment. What would people rather survive on if they become stranded or lost in a wilderness? Would people prefer to eat worms, leaves, tree bark, insects, snakes, reptiles, mice, and rats? Ahem. No I dont think so. None of that is even remotely fit to eat. Would people rather kill animals such as pigs, deer, and pretty birds to eat them? Theres no way I would do that. No one should be killing any birds to eat. People should learn to be fruit and vegetable eaters with some nuts and grains. Dont eat gross repulsive things and dont kill and dont eat cute pretty things. Forget that absurd Bear Gryllis and forget all those survival T.V. shows which show stupidity and degeneracy. Just take my advice. Its the best advice.

Some questions I have about Strawberry Guava, also known as Cattley Guava, is this; how long does the fruit stay ripe in the wild, and what months or what seasons? One source says its a very short season of only 1 month in the summer. Another source says its available 4 months of the year, 2 months in the summer and 2 months in the winter. Another source says its ripe from August to March which is 8 months of the year. So who is right?

I prefer buying and eating the fresh fruit but will accept the frozen fruit found in freezers. Not even frozen Strawberry Guava is found here where I live. This has got to change. Strawberry Guava is a womde

anonymous on October 02, 2013:

Very cool, never heard of it, but would definitely try it!

lesliesinclair on September 30, 2013:

I can't say, but I like your idea. I used to make fruit leather like that.

girlfriendfactory on September 30, 2013:

It sounds good to me. You never know until you try!

sybil watson on September 30, 2013:

I think strawberry guava is great in a garden where it can be controlled. I love the fence that you're making, and that guava fruit leather couldn't be easier.

Shinichi Mine from Tokyo, Japan on September 30, 2013:

I've never heard of this fruit before. Thanks for sharing. I learned something new!