Growing up in Hawaii, there is always an abundance of fruit throughout the year like banana, avocado, mango, lychee, papaya, mountain apples, or guava. A family member, neighbor, co-worker, or friend has something in their yard to share, and no one likes to waste anything. And as someone told me, home-grown fruit may not be pretty but it sure is tasty.
And if someone isn’t sharing fresh fruit, they are sharing something that they made with the fruit – pickled mango, mango chutney, banana bread, or jams/jellies. Cookbooks from local churches, women’s groups, and even our family cookbook are filled with recipes on how to use the abundance of fruits.
Growing up I didn’t appreciate the fruit or the goodies that were made from those fruits. As an adult, not only do I love these things, I’ve also grown to love making them myself.
Guavas in Hawaii
Throughout the world there are many different varieties of guava. In Hawaii, the usual varieties are the common guava, sometimes called a lemon guava based on its appearance, and strawberry guavas, small, cherry-like fruit in size and color.
This recipe uses the larger common guava. It is not as sour as other varieties, although it does have a bit of a bite, and when cut open, it has beautiful soft, pink flesh. Almost every part of this guava is edible, including the skin, but not the tiny seeds within. The seeds are like little rocks that could probably chip a tooth.
A similar recipe
Making guava jam, like other jams, is relatively easy but just takes a little time. The method is similar to making apricot jam or papaya ginger jam. The main difference is the preparation of the fruit. To make guava jam, you start by cooking and processing the fruit first before you cook it down with sugar and lemon juice.
To prepare the guavas, you cook them for about 20 minutes just to soften the rind and the fruit and extract as much flavor as possible. At that point, the fruit is soft enough that it could be pressed through a fine mesh sieve, leaving the rind and seeds behind, giving you a smooth guava puree. I prefer using a food mill but it’s not required.
From that point, you cook the puree with sugar and lemon juice to the desired jammy consistency. Guavas have a lot of natural pectin. Combined with the pectin in the lemons, additional pectin is not needed unless you like a very firm-set jam.
I often make a small batch so I don’t bother with water-bath processing. Unprocessed, the jam will keep in the fridge about six months.
How to eat guava jam
Guava jam is extremely versatile:
- Eat it with butter on toast
- Thin it down with a little orange juice for a tropical syrup for pancakes and waffles
- Use it in jam thumbprints or guava bars
Sweet and tangy guavas make a tropical jam that is delicious on toast, biscuits, or even pancakes. This easy recipe takes advantage of the naturally occurring pectin in the fruit.
2 pounds guava*
2 cups sugar
4 tablespoons lemon juice
Remove any obviously damaged parts of the guava then cut into 1″ pieces, rind and seeds included, and place in a medium saucepan. Cover with water.
Bring the guava mixture to a boil then reduce heat to maintain a simmer. Cook for 20 minutes or until the rind of the guava is soft.
Drain the fruit and run the pulp through a food mill to remove the seeds and large pieces of rind. If you do not have a food mill, you can press the pulp through a fine mesh sieve, pressing down with a wooden spoon. It’s important to remove the seeds as they are very hard, like rocks.
Measure out 2 cups of guava pulp and place it into a medium saucepan. Add the sugar and lemon juice and bring to a gentle simmer. Cook for 30 – 60 minutes, until the sugar has dissolved and the jam is the desired consistency.
Ladle the jam into sterilized jars. Wipe the rims, apply the lids and rings, and process in a boiling water bath.**
If you choose to not process the jam, store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 6 months.
*This recipe uses the common guava found in Hawaii (also known as kuawa and kuawa-lemi). When ripe it has a yellow rind with sour pink pulp.
**For proper water bath canning procedures, please see https://www.freshpreserving.com/blog?cid=water-bath-canning.
- Prep Time: 15 minutes
- Cook Time: 50 minutes
- Category: Jams
- Cuisine: Hawaiian-American
- Serving Size: 2 tablespoons
- Calories: 90.42
- Sugar: 20.06 g.
- Sodium: 0.96 mg.
- Fat: 0.42 g.
- Saturated Fat: 0.1 g.
- Carbohydrates: 22.18 g.
- Fiber: 2.05 g.
- Protein: 0.97 g.
- Cholesterol: 0
Keywords: guava, sugar, lemon juice