Monday, 1 November 2010

Divesting the Genestead of Kilos and Kilos of Guavas: story with recipe

The guava tree in Gene's driveway suddenly decided to drop all its fruit this past fortnight.  I hate to waste such good tasting food!  They're white and oblong, sweet and soft in the middle and sour outside but with tiny seeds, not like guavas I know from RCI and PNG.  (Are they feijoas? Identification unclear.) Korean and Philippina friends say that these are just the kind they have back home. 
To get rid of all this bounty of fruit, I've filled my bike basket with them and passed a bucket of them around in class, put them in a bowl in the common kitchen at school, given them to a colleague at work, taken them to a cohort meeting as party favors, and eaten bowls full.  Let's have a mooment for feeing virtuous about distributing locally grown pesticide-free produce on a carbon-neutral form of transport....ok, that's enough of that.  Besides, guavas fall through the gaps in my wire bike basket when I hit road bumps.  I left a trail behind me like the children with the bread crumbs in the forest.  Am I the Johnny Appleseed of Pasadena?  Donna Guavaseed?  New email handles suggest themselves.
Yesterday I finally got around to cooking them, and made three guava products: spiced jelly/spread, tart filling, and the guava paste common in Mexico an the Caribean.  Yum!  Horay for guavas.  To make all three, chop and boil guavas until soft in just enough water to cover.  Blend to desired texture (chunkier for tart filling) and add volume of sugar/brown sugar/honey/molasses less than or equal to the guavas (less for filling, more for jam).  For jam & tart filling, can mixture in jars.  For spiced spread, add cinnamon, nutmeg, fresh ginger and cardamom, simmer to blend flavours, then can.  Ask Gene for his not-yet-patented way of canning using the dishwasher...  For the guava paste, continue simmering, stirring constantly, for half an hour or so until the mess is reduced to a thick paste and is dark and all carmelly-coloured.  Spread in a thin layer on a silicone mat and cut into squares when cool, or fill silicone cupcake molds.  Yum!, like gummy bears but made with fresh fruit.  Serve it sliced with cheese and bread, or as a desert, or fill pastries with slices of it.  Now, who wants some guava jam for Christmas?

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