Friday, May 15, 2009

Guavas!



Lately I've been on a bit of a guava rampage and it all started with soap. I'm not kidding you. Until this year, my only experience with guavas was in paste form and soap form.


Years ago I had a Cuban room mate whose favorite snack was guava paste with cream cheese on crackers. The guava paste came in a big, flat, round wheel and was so stiff that you had to slice it with a knife, into little red rectangles. It was just kind of Ok. I definitely wouldn't have ever called guava paste on of my favorite foods, but at the same time it wasn't disgusting either. I liked the picture of the actual guavas on the wrapper better than the product inside the tin, but I had never seen real guavas before. They just don't sell them fresh in the grocery store.


A couple years ago I became enamored with Pacifica soaps and candles, which are sold in Whole Foods and Anthropologie and smell like I imagine heaven must smell. Pacifica is not a local company, but they are an American company and conform to an extremely high standard of ethics and product integrity and they also have really pretty packaging, which I am such a sucker for in spite of myself. Pacifica products make the best gifts too and everytime I've ever given someone a Pacifica soap, candle or perfume, they always really love it. Well anyway, one of my favorite Pacifica scents is Hawaiian Ruby Guava. I wanted to eat it. But sadly, I didn't know if it smelled like a real guava because I had never smelled a real guava. I decided to begin a quest for real guavas.



On my last visit to Robert Is Here Fruit Stand, in Homestead, I came across a pile of locally grown guavas and was beside myself with joy. I was finally going to get to try one! I picked up a guava and smelled it and lo and behold it smelled exactly like my favorite soap! Now let me take a moment to admit to how pathetic and sad this is that I was so unfamiliar with a native fruit that I associated its natural smell with the unnatural smell of a commercial reproduction of itself. Believe me, the irony wasn't lost on me. But still, it smelled exactly like the soap or the soap smelled exactly like the real guava or whatever because they both smelled like the same really good smell. the whole drive home I kept smelling the guava. Then, when I put it in my fruit dish to ripen, it scented my entire apartment (or maybe that was the soap).



After a couple days, the guava was soft enough to eat. The girl who helped me at the fruit stand explained that every part of the guava could be eaten - skin, seeds and all, so I sliced it up and was shocked that the inside of the fruit was white! I thought guavas were pink. Apparently there are lots of varieties of guava and only some are pink. This one was not. My first reaction was that the inside of the guava looked exactly like the inside of an eggplant. It was spongy and cream colored with a speckling of small, tan seeds. Pretty much exactly like raw eggplant looks. The texture was pear-like and it tasted just like strawberries. That means it was really good. And I still couldn't get over the smell. Growing up, we always had dogs. Often, when the dogs were outside they would encounter some exciting scent in the yard. It was usually dead things or something as horrible as another dog's poop, but our dogs would act like whatever it was, was the best thing they had ever smelled in their lives and they would throw themselves on the ground and roll and roll in ecstacy, covering themselves with the smell. That is exactly how I felt about the smell of the real guava.



They don't sell real guavas in our local grocery stores. You can get them at farmer's markets or from people who have trees. I've put the word out to some friends whose parents may have friends that have trees. Recently I've spotted Honduran guavas in Whole Foods and I bought one. It too, was white inside and it too, smelled really, really good, but it wasn't local, so any more are off limits. It seems so silly to ship them in from another country when guava trees grow perfectly well right here. The strange thing is, I've never seen a guava tree. Why don't more people grow them in their yards? Why are they not more popular, I wonder.



And finally, does anyone know where I can get local guavas or does anyone have a tree who might be willing to spare a couple fruits for me? These things are better than pot pourri for perfuming my apartment! Just kidding, I like to eat them too.

4 comments:

  1. I love the ruby guava Pacifica candles too! I put them in my bathroom even though they don't match my blue/green motif.

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  2. Guava is humble looking fruit. I find guava very tasty. It is good for health. It is rich in vitamin C. It is great for eyes and heart, skin, hair. It also helps for combating colon and prostate cancer and has many other benefits.

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  3. I love guavas too. Growing up my mother would cook them and make tarts out of the mixture. In Florida they were plentiful then, but I don't know about now. I live in Ga. and all I can find is the paste, which is very good, but just doesn't taste the same. I have been making tarts out of everything but guavas and would love to have some really good guavas, but around here everyone looks at me and says "yuk".

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  4. I love guavas and eat them every day if I can. I grew up with them and love everything about them. I like the green ones.

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