Guava is a fruit that many people know of, but have not tried to eat.
For some reason, this tropical fruit is intimidating to shoppers because of the bright green colors and the hard exterior shell. Once you get into the fruit, you may also find the interior pretty intense.
Guava surprises us with glorious nectar
Part of the myrtle family, guavas are known for their pungent floral smells as well as their bright green foliage. This green fruit has very strong smell and taste, just like you would imagine a ripe lemon to have. The beauty of the pink inside lend itself well to decoration with other tropical foods. They are native to Central and South America, as well as Mexico. Guava is now cultivated around the world and is domesticated in many of the countries with suitable climate.
Guava history facts
Guava originally hailed from the tropical climate of Central and Southern America, probably Brazil. At the beginning of the 16th century the Portuguese introduced guava to the Philippines and eventually to India. There are documents from the early 1800s that show the Seminole Tribe of Northern Florida cultivating guava trees. Today guava is grown all over the world with most of the crop exported from the original cultivation in Central and Southern America.
As the cultivation of guavas has been extended to most tropical and sub-tropical zones in America, Africa, Asia and Australia, there are about 100 species of guavas, but the most common one is the apple guava. This is the one referred to as the guava.
The feijoa is known as pineapple guava and it was formerly classified as one of the many types of guava.
The leaves and wood of the guava tree are highly sought after. The wood is not used in the construction of homes or furniture, but rather for beautiful decorative purposes. Hand-carved knobs for drawers and accent pieces are where you will find most of the wood. The leaves are popular for their black dye which is used for fabrics and for medicinal purposes. In many countries, guava leaves can be made into herbal concoctions to provide gastrointestinal relief, heal minor wounds, ease toothaches, give relief for coughs, and even help control nausea during pregnancy.
How to eat
Guava can be eaten raw and is a delicious addition to traditional and fruit salads. However, due to the strong fragrance and taste, guava is usually found in liquid form in nectar, juices, syrups or cooked in desserts. Guava flavored candy is also extremely popular, especially in the Latin cultures.
Most of us will probably not be shaking a guava tree to get a fresh guava. If you want to explore this fruit, you may want to start with one of the many drinks or desserts. Once you get hooked on the flavor, it may be worth your while to explore your local international grocery store for more.