Here in Southern California citrus is the dominant fruit of winter, but you might also find another treat popping up in your backyard, market basket, or CSA box: guavas! These Mexican white guavas don't have the brilliant color of their pink cousins but they're wonderfully fragrant and sweet. Over 100 guava varieties grow in places like Mexico, Central and South America, the Caribbean, Southeast Asia, Hawaii, California, and Florida. Although these particular guavas, grown by Rancho Santa Cecilia in Carpenteria, Calif., are known as "Mexican white guavas," we find them similar to the Thai white guavas we've eaten. The flesh surrounding the seeds is smooth and creamy, while the outer flesh is more grainy, like a pear. The flavor is sweet to sour with a faint musky aroma.
When choosing white guavas, look for fruits that are free of blemishes and mushy spots, and store them at room temperature. They may be eaten skin, flesh, seeds and all, although some prefer to juice the fruit and strain out the pips. Firm white guavas are delicious out of hand or sliced into a salad, while the juice of softer, sweeter ones is delicious in mixed drinks, sorbets, preserves, and more.
Emily Ho is a writer, recipe developer, and educator. She lives in Los Angeles, where she teaches classes on food preservation, wild food, and herbalism. Emily is a Master Food Preserver and founder of LA Food Swap and the international Food Swap Network.
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