The Incredible Guava

Psidium guajava


Most of us who grew up in the tropics know a guava is perfectly ripe when you can smell it without even putting it to your nose.  The taste to some of us has been described as ‘part strawberry and part pear’.  Its juice is frequently referred to as ‘the nectar of the gods. Guava is also rated as a super food, a powerhouse of nutrients and a good source of energy. One low-calorie cup of this vitamin rich fruit contains a whopping 8 grams of fiber scored second to blueberries and right behind kale.

The word guava appears to derive from the Arawak guayabo tree has since naturalized throughout the tropics and subtropics in Africa, Southeast Asia, the Caribbean, Florida and other countries. This seasonal fruit, scientifically known as Psidium guajava, has a round or pear-shaped yellow skin when ripe with a white or maroon flesh, depending on its type, and has small hard seeds enveloped in its soft, sweet pulp. The common types of guava include apple guava, yellow-fruited cherry guava, strawberry guava, and red apple guava. They are mostly eaten raw (ripe or semi-ripe) or consumed in the form of juice, jams, and jellies.

In Costa Rica, Guatemala, Nicaragua and other Central American countries, thereis another specie of guava known as Cas (Psidium friedrichsthalianum)is another popular backyard fruit tree. The flesh is almost exclusively used to make a delicious drink as the flesh is usually very acidic. It is also used to makejams, jellies, and preserves.

As guavas are frequently attacked by the Caribbean fruit fly, home gardeners welcome the insect resistant guava cv. ‘Bogor’ with open arms from Indonesia is available from the Rare Fruit Council at plant their plant sales booth at Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden (FTBG).

In Southeast Asia, a larger white variety with a crispy texture is a popular as an ‘on-the-go’ snack fruit. Seedless varieties are also popular in Indonesia and Thailand but are not yet available in Florida.