Guava, Guayaba

History:

Guavas are thought to have originated from Mexico or Central America and were distributed throughout tropical America and the Caribbean. They were adopted as a crop in subtropical and tropical Asia, the southern United States (from Tennessee and North Carolina south, as well as the west and Hawaii,) and tropical Africa. Guavas are now cultivated in many tropical and subtropical countries. Several species are grown commercially; apple guava and its cultivars are those most commonly traded internationally. Guavas were introduced to Florida in the 19th century and are now grown in Florida as far north as Sarasota, Chipley, Waldo and Fort Pierce.

 

Characteristics:

Guava is a tropical fruit with a vivid orange colouring about the size of a small lemon. Mature trees of most species are fairly cold-hardy and can survive temperatures slightly colder than 25 °F (−4 °C) for short periods of time, but younger plants will likely freeze to the ground. Guavas are of interest to home growers in subtropical areas as one of the few tropical fruits that can grow to fruiting size in pots indoors. When grown from seed, guavas bear fruit as early as two years old and continue to do so for as long as 40 years.

 

Food uses:

It is common to see guava in jellies, sauces, and compotes. Guava sauces from the Spanish speaking islands are very tasty and often spread over bread, served with cream cheese and spread on cassava or other crisp breads or crackers. In many countries, guava is eaten raw, typically cut into quarters or eaten like an apple, whereas in other countries it is eaten with a pinch of salt and pepper, cayenne powder or a mix of spices (masala). It is known as the winter national fruit of Pakistan. In the Philippines, ripe guava is used in cooking sinigang. Guava is a popular snack in Taiwan, sold on many street corners and night markets during hot weather, accompanied by packets of dried plum powder mixed with sugar and salt for dipping. In east Asia, guava is commonly eaten with sweet and sour dried plum powder mixtures. Guava juice is popular in many countries. The fruit is also often prepared in fruit salads. Because of its high level of pectin, guavas are extensively used to make candies, preserves, jellies, jams, and marmalades and also for juices and aguas frescas or may be used in a marmalade jam on toast. Red guavas can be used as the base of salted products such as sauces, substituting for tomatoes, especially to minimize acidity. A drink may be made from an infusion of guava fruits and leaves, which in Brazil is called chá-de-goiabeira, i.e., “tea” of guava tree leaves, considered medicinal.

 

Health & nutrition values:

Guavas are rich in dietary fibre and vitamin C, with moderate levels of folic acid. Having a generally broad, low-calorie profile of essential nutrients, a single common guava fruit contains about four times the amount of vitamin C as an orange. However, nutrient content varies across guava cultivars. Although the strawberry guava has only 25% of the amount found in more common varieties, its total vitamin C content in one serving (90 mg) still provides 100% of the Dietary Reference Intake. Guava leaves contain both carotenoids and polyphenols. As some of these phytochemicals produce the fruit skin and flesh colour, guavas that are red-orange tend to have more polyphenol and carotenoid content than yellow-green ones. Guava contains nutrients that help curb all kinds of illnesses, including cancer and diabetes. The health benefits of guava include the treatment of diarrhea, dysentery, constipation, cough, cold, skin care, high blood pressure, weight loss and scurvy. Its vitamin A content is five times that of an orange, and it also has stellar amounts of protein, fiber, and folate, and possibly more vitamin C than any other fruit.

 

References/Bibliography:

Guava – Wikipedia Page https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Guava

What are Guavas Good For? http://foodfacts.mercola.com/guava.html

Health Benefits of Guava https://www.organicfacts.net/health-benefits/fruit/health-benefits-of-guava.html