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.
We're planning to try a recipe for White Guava & Meyer Lemon Marmalade from The Blue Chair Jam Cookbook (did you catch our tour of Rachel Saunders's kitchen last week?). Another intriguing use for Mexican white guavas is Guava Bread from Deb Breuler and Rick Bayless. Do you have any other ideas?
Related: In Season West Coast: Guava
(Image: Emily Ho)