I’m no newbie when it comes to processing guavas…check out my page The Tongan Experience. But I’ve got to tell you Puerto Rican guavas are the bomb in size compared to South Pacific guavas. It takes a lot less Puerto Rican guavas (guayaba) to make jam than the South Pacific variety.
California, Mexico, Florida and the Virgin Islands grow and distribute guavas. You’ll find them in better supermarkets during the fall. Be sure to buy them with yellow to light green skins and slightly tender to the touch. Cut the yellowest one open to see if the flesh is pink. Take a small bite, avoiding the seeds, and see if its sweet. If it is then allow the greener ones to ripen in a bowl or basket until they are yellow. Remember, as with every other fruit, if it was picked too early, it will never ripen sweetly.
Measuring 2-1/2 to 3-inches in diameter with pretty pink flesh guayabas grande (big guavas in Puerto Rican Spanish) are amazingly delicious raw but the tiny little seeds will cause serious dental emergencies. The seeds are so hard you can break teeth biting into them. The pulpy juice or nectar is easy to extract, using a juicer, food mill or fine=meshed sieve. The juice is used throughout the Caribbean for rum punches, sauces, glazes and other delights. Guava paste, the cooked version, makes delicate pastilitos…little pillows of puff pastry filled with cream cheese and ruby red guava paste. The skins are soft with a slight tartness and can be preserved in sugar syrup…wonderful filled with ice-cream or sorbets.
Guavas are acidic (5.5) so with just a tablespoon of lime juice added to the pulp the jam is perfect for water-bath canning . They’re also very sweet so you need only 3/4 cup of sugar per cup of pulp. Sugar free pectin also works well with ripe guavas. For best results always cook small batches yielding 2 to 4 cups of jam.
Never one to waste I cannot chuck the skins of these beautiful guavas so I decided to add them to the pulp and spice it up with a little star anise. The result was exceptional – a jam with a bit of texture, not too sweet and Asian in tone. Can’t wait to glaze a chicken or ribs with this but first I’m having scones and jam.
- 1 pound fresh ripe guavas (2 cups of pulp)
- 3/4 cup granulated sugar for every cup of pulp (1-1/2 cups sugar for 2 cups pulp)
- juice of 1/2 fresh lime (1 Tbsp)
- 2 or 3 star anise pods
- 1 pouch Certo Liquid pectin
- Wash jars in hot soapy water, rinse well and keep jars warm until ready to fill.
- Fill a stock pot with water and bring to a boil then lower heat to a simmer until ready to water-bath jars.
- Wash guavas thoroughly. Remove pink flesh from skins. Slice off blossom end and stem end of skins. Dice and set aside.
- In a heavy-bottomed sauce place guava flesh and enough water to barely cover. Bring to a boil and cook until soft and easy to mash.
- Pour cooked guava and juice into a foodmill or push through a fine-mesh sieve to remove seeds. This is the pulp to be measured.
- Return pulp to pan, add diced skin, sugar, star anise and lime juice. Stirring constantly to dissolve sugar, bring to a full-roiling boil (a boil that cannot be stirred down. The skin should be tender enough to mash at this point, if not continue to boil for 1 minute more.
- Remove from heat and stir in Certo liquid pectin. Return to high heat for 30 seconds. Remove star anise pods.
- Drain warm jars, fill to within 1/4-inch of rim, wipe rims and seal. Bring water-bath to a full boil. Water should be 1-inch or more above jars. Process jars for 10 minutes. Remove jars to a draft-free area and cool. Store in a cool, dark, damp-free pantry. Refrigerate once opened.
For more tropical jam recipes check out Preserves & Condiments under Recipe Categories.