Strawberry Guavas: The Antithesis to Christmas Cookies

by Susan Russo
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strawberryguavas.jpgWhat is the complete opposite of Christmas cookies? I just did some research; turns out that the complete opposite of a Christmas cookie is a strawberry guava. It's no wonder this sexy fruit is native to Brazil, the land of beautiful bronzed bodies and gorgeous beaches. Everything about a strawberry guava says, "look at me."

Eating a strawberry guava is a memorable sensory experience. First it entices you with its intoxicating perfume of ripe summer strawberries and tart pink grapefruit. Its butter cup yellow rind is smooth and soft to the touch, evoking warmth and sunshine. One bite of a strawberry guava will make you understand why it's called "exotic." The creamy, fruity flesh is the color of roses, while the flavor is a beautiful combination of tangy, sweet grapefruit, juicy, ripe strawberries, and late summer grapes.

Most U.S. guavas are grown in Hawaii and Florida, though the strawberry guavas you see here were grown in Southern California and generously given to me by our friend, Adel. These strawberry guavas have a pastel yellow skin yet also come in bright red or deep purple. When buying strawberry guavas or any variety of guava really, look for a fragrant fruit that is free of blemishes and soft to the touch. Hold it in your hand, and give it a gentle squeeze; it should give slightly, being neither too hard nor too squishy.

If it's unripe and hard, then place the guava in a paper bag with a yellow banana. The banana will produce ethylene, which will speed up the ripening process. Keep unripened guavas at room temperature. Though fully ripened guavas can be refrigerated for several days, they are best eaten sooner and fresher. Also note that the entire fruit is edible, from the rind to the flesh to the small white seeds.

You're probably wondering, "Where can I buy strawberry guavas?" Given their status as "exotic" fruit, strawberry guavas, along with most guava varieties, can be difficult to find. Your best bet is try a high-end organic store such as Whole Foods or the online site Melissas.com. Or take a vacation to San Diego, where they can currently be found at our farmers' markets. (Plus, if you do it before January 1st, you can use it as a write-off on your taxes from all your blogging money. Hahahahhaha.)

Though most guavas are eaten simply out-of-hand, they can be made into jams and sauces, or blended into drinks. I have done none of them. In fact there is no recipe today. Just luscious strawberry guavas. Because after posting 228 Christmas cookies, this is truly the anti-Christmas cookie post.

 

Susan Russo is a free lance food writer in San Diego, California. She publishes stories, recipes, and photos on her cooking blog, <Food Blogga and is a regular contributor to NPR’s <Kitchen Window. She is also the author of two upcoming books that will be published in the fall of 2010.  

 

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