Sunday, December 12, 2010

September 7, 2010 –Guava Season


September 7, 2010 –Guava Season
Guava like many other simple life fruit is not eaten neatly chopped in a bowl, at the table; rather, it is eaten still while walking off the tree. Differently from mango which makes a mess leaving hands and face sticky, and the teeth holding the thin fibers, guava is clean. The green guava, in my opinion, is the best to eat. It smells greeny, has firm texture, and after finishing, I get an impression that I have just brushed my teeth.
We haven’t had so many guavas in a long time. A few trees (which is a lot for a family) in front of our kitchen being tall and old, I had asked to prune them drastically, with the intention to cut them down someday. That was last year during my Fruitculture class. To my surprise, this year, we had a generous amount of the fruit that even those trees that had never bore any fruit, gave us plenty.
All guavas have green skin until they ripen, but the pulp and the seeds vary in color. With at least ten trees that we have, some is deep rosy red, other pale pink, and many, white. My favorite one has a pear shape, even when ripe it is firm and has that “after brushing” taste.
My daughter devoured first guavas we got as a gift from my uncle that grows this fruit commercially. When our trees started to yield fruits, she traded it for meals. The bucolic picture of seen her walking around under the trees in search for the best fruits. Until she found a worm inside of it. My father says that there is nothing more harmless than the guava worm. That the guava worm is guava. A popular joke says “What is worse than finding a worm in your guava? The answer is: half a worm.” Guava worms are just part eating non treated fruit. It is also part of our childhood.
A lady showing how to make guava sweet (marmelade type consistency) on TV recommended using rustic guavas. The commercial fruit is poor in color and in pectine, in spite of the size (which must be water only).
Guava, even though I said it gives you’re a fresh sensation in the mouth, is very filling. Ripe guava may give you an indigestion just by smelling their scent. Like any other tropical fruit, it is not a shy fruit that holds its smell, rather, it exhale it in hot waves.
The most well known way of eating preserve guavas are in a “marmelade” form. Just add sugar and cook it for several hours, like any other hillbilly’s food. (you remember – they have lot of spare time, so they can spend hours resting their bellies the at stove). Actually, it takes some peeling and separating seed from the pulp. The seed must be boiled and sieved. Nobody could eat “goiabada” with seeds as we do with blackberry jam. They are unpleasant to bite and also they stick in the little depression of our molars. My father thinks twice before eating a guava. He doesn’t like the sensation of the seeds on the teeth. When I eat guava, I chew the seeds very lightly, or I just don’t eat it. My daughter does the opposite, she just eats the seeds and throws away the pulp.
A friend taught me to make guava jam to be a concentraded form of juice. She does the same with blackberries. Not a bad idea.
One of the most precious memory I have of food making, it is the guava jam used in a jelly roll. When teenager, I once visited a friend whose mother was baking the sponge cake while the guava pulp was boiling ravenously on the a stove top. She sweet smell of the cake mixed with overpowering smell of ripe guava made a mark on my glutonic memory. Whenever this memory comes back strong, I can’t hold myself to prepare them, even if I have to buy a commercial preserve devoided of its characteristic smell.
Perhaps I get encouraged by all this I am writing that I may collect 20 pounds (minimum) of the ripe fruit for jam making. I had actually started the other day, stopped for some reason, and ended up throwing away the fruits that were getting rotten inside a bag. It takes inspiration, courage and time. Hours processing the jam, and months eating it.

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