Attention aspiring foragers. You may not have to go as far as you thought to gather your food. Just look up, or check out the aroma, as these wild fruits are strikingly fragrant.

If you’re not originally from Los Angeles, you may be unfamiliar with the guava fruit. Guava trees, though native to Mexico and Central America, are pretty common around here. And despite the fruits’ tropical tangy and unique flavor, they often go unnoticed, unpicked and under-appreciated, turning from green to yellow and falling to the ground, only to be stepped on and forgotten — aside from that pungent lemon-like smell that permeates the sidewalks in October in Los Angeles.

Some species of the fruit have huge hard seeds that, unless you're a squirrel, are difficult to navigate. But this doesn't mean the little green spheres of pink (or sometimes white) flesh aren't worth appreciating. Here are four easy ways to make the most of the short and sweet guava season. 


Guava Jelly; Credit: Heather Platt

Guava Jelly; Credit: Heather Platt

4. Guava Jelly
When life gives you guavas, make guava jelly. Guavas have a naturally high level of pectin, so there's no need to add any of the artificial kind. Also, when you deliver little jars of the sweet stuff to your neighbors, they'll think you're a genius — when all you did was boil a few things in one pot. And seeing as the holidays are right around the corner, we might as well get an early start on those charming homemade gifts. 

Guava Jelly
From: Heather Platt
Makes: 12 ounces

3 cups guavas, peeled and chopped
3 cups water
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
3/4 cup sugar
2 limes, juiced
1 teaspoon salt

1. Place all of the ingredients in a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer for 30 minutes.

2. Remove from heat and let cool. Pour mixture through a fine mesh sieve to separate our the seeds. Using a large spoon, press down on the solids to release the juices.

3. Return the now seedless mixture back to the saucepan and return to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low and let simmer for 40 minutes or until thickened.

4. Remove from heat and let cool. Pour into jars and refrigerate until use. The jelly will thicken as it cools.

Banana Guava Rum Daiquiri; Credit: Heather Platt

Banana Guava Rum Daiquiri; Credit: Heather Platt

3. Banana Guava Rum Daiquiris
No, it’s not 1985 and we’re not in Miami, but that doesn't mean we can’t blend up a good old-fashioned Cuban-invented frozen rum daiquiri. In case you've forgotten, they’re actually quite refreshing. And since it continues to be absurdly hot here in Los Angeles (October is often our hottest month), we could all use one of these icy cocktails to cool us down. Though traditionally daiquiris consist only of rum, lime juice and sugar, for this recipe, the guavas are made into simple syrup and bananas are added to sweeten the drink.

Banana Guava Rum Daiquiris
From: Heather Platt
Serves: 4

2 oz. guava simple syrup (recipe below)
1/2 cup crushed ice
3 ripe bananas
3 limes, juiced
8 oz. white rum

1. In a blender, add the 2 oz. of the guava simple syrup, crushed ice, bananas, lime juice and rum. Blend until smooth and serve immediately.

Guava Simple Syrup:
1 lb. guavas, ends removed and quartered
1/3 cup sugar

1. Place the prepared guavas in a large sauce pan and add just enough water to cover the guavas. Bring to a boil then reduce the heat and cook until the guavas are very tender. Strain the cooked guavas and water through a fine mesh sieve to remove the seeds and skin. Press the guava flesh through the sieve.

2. Return the now seedless and skinless guava water to the stove top and stir in the sugar. Bring to a boil then reduce heat and let simmer for 30 minutes or until reduced by half. Let cool. This will be your guava simple syrup.


Big French Toast with Poached Guava Syrup and Crème Fraîche; Credit: Heather Platt

Big French Toast with Poached Guava Syrup and Crème Fraîche; Credit: Heather Platt

3. Big French Toast with Poached Guava Syrup and Crème Fraîche
The only thing better than French toast, is big French toast. Cook the toast two ways, first in a hot buttery cast-iron skillet then in the oven for a perfect dark brown crispy crust. Soaking  the indulgently thick slices of buttery challah or brioche overnight in the egg batter will insure a very moist and delicious center. And just when this big French toast couldn't get any better, we top it off with poached guavas and a dollop of crème fraîche.

Big French Toast with Poached Guava Syrup and Crème Fraîche
From: Heather Platt
Serves: 2

2 2-inch slices Challah  or brioche bread
4 large eggs
1/2 cup whole milk
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 teaspoon bourbon vanilla extract
1 lb. ripe guavas, cleaned, ends trimmed, halved and seeds removed
4 cups water
1 1/2 cup sugar
2 cinnamon sticks
1 tablespoon whole star anise
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 teaspoon whole cloves
1/4 cup crème fraîche

1. In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs, milk, cinnamon, nutmeg, and vanilla until completely combined. Place the bread in a shallow baking dish and pour the egg mixture over all of the bread. Cover the dish and place in the refrigerator to soak overnight.

2. To make the guava syrup, bring the water, sugar, cinnamon sticks, cloves and star anise to a boil in a medium sauce pan and add the halved guavas.  Reduce the heat to medium and when the guavas are very soft remove them from the pan with a slotted spoon, about 10 minutes. Strain the liquid through a fine mesh sieve and return it to the pan. Continue to let it simmer until it has reduced to 1 cup, about 15 more minutes.

3. When the bread is ready to be cooked, preheat the over to 400 degrees.

4. In a large cast-iron skillet, melt the butter over high heat. Add the now egg-soaked bread to the hot skillet and cook until dark browned on both sides, about 6 minutes total. Transfer the skillet to the preheated oven and bake for 10 more minutes.

5. Serve with the poached guavas, a dollop and crème fraîche and the guava syrup.

Roasted Chicken Thighs with Guava Glaze; Credit: Heather Platt

Roasted Chicken Thighs with Guava Glaze; Credit: Heather Platt

1. Roasted Chicken Thighs with Guava Glaze
Guavas don't have to be for dessert.  Their tart, fruity flavor is great in sauces on pork or chicken. Think Chinese orange chicken — but this time it's Cuban, with guavas. Remember that guava syrup you made for those refreshing daiquiris? Well, hopefully you made extra, because it is a key component to the glaze in this very easy recipe. 

Roasted Chicken Thighs with Guava Glaze
From: Heather Platt
Serves: 2

1/4 cup guava syrup (recipe above)
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
3 limes, juiced
1 small red onion, finely chopped
1 tablespoons rice vinegar
2 cloves of garlic
1 lb. chicken thighs
kosher salt
freshly cracked black pepper

1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Place the guava syrup, vinegar, lime juice, onion and garlic in a small sauce pan over medium-high heat. Bring to a boil then reduce the heat to medium low and let simmer to thicken.

2. Meanwhile, place the chicken in a roasting pan and generously season with salt and pepper. Roast in the oven for 30 minutes. Remove from the oven and brush with the guava glaze. Return to the chicken to the oven and roast for 10 more minutes. Serve with rice.

Heather Platt is a freelance writer and blogger. Follow her blog Three More Big Bites. Want more Squid Ink? Follow us on Twitter or like us on Facebook.

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