Much consumed in tropical regions, the guava is gradually democratizing in Western countries. This small fruit is widely distributed in the Caribbean, Latin America and more generally in tropical countries. It brings a note of exoticism in Western gastronomic dishes. Its fine and delicate skin contains a slightly granular pinkish flesh, with sparse edible seeds.
History of guava
Guava has been cultivated for more than 2 000 years in South America. The Aztecs called it “plum of sand.” The guava was reportedly introduced to the Antilles by the Amerindians, long before the discovery of the New World by Europeans. It grows so easily, on all kinds of soils and whatever the climatic conditions, that it can soon become invasive. It is even sometimes considered a weed. In the nineteenth century, guava was also introduced in Tahiti.
The guava grains remain intact in the intestines and give a peculiarity to the guava: its propagation is thus ensured by the birds.
The tree has aromatic leaves, often used as digestive infusions.
In the Pacific Islands, guava pulp is widely used by women who transform it into a moisturizing and regenerating treatment for the face and body skin.
Guava is the fruit of the guava tree, a tree native to the tropics. This fruit is part of the family of Myrtaceae which also includes cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves and eucalyptus.
Guava is a very popular fruit in South America, but it is also grown in other tropical and subtropical countries such as Africa, Australia, India, the United States, Brazil and Taiwan.
There are more than 150 varieties of guava that produce fruits of shape, size, colors and different flavors.
Its thin skin is eatable and can present shades of green, red, yellow or white. It can also be presented with black or pink spots. Its flesh is white, yellow, orange-pink or red and is very fragrant with a slightly tart taste. The seeds found inside are also edible.
Health effects of guava
The antioxidant content of guava is very interesting. Indeed, several scientific studies have shown that guava has a high content of polyphenols. There would be 10 times more in the guava peel than in the flesh. In addition, guava is also an excellent source of vitamin C and contains vitamin A, two vitamins having antioxidant properties. Its vitamin C content is five times higher than that of the orange.
In one study, the consumption of guava allowed to increase the levels of HDL cholesterol, beneficial for the health of the heart. On the other hand, this study was carried out with consumption of about 4 guavas per day (400 g) which represents a high consumption and difficult to achieve every day. Guava contains pectin, a soluble fiber recognized to play a role in the levels of cholesterol in the blood.
Moreover, the leaves of the guava possess high content of lutein, zeaxanthin and lycopene, nutrients involved in the health of the eyes but also in the prevention of certain types of cancers.
Widely used in traditional medicine, the leaves of the guava would have astringent and anti-diarrhea properties. Used in decoction or in local application they would also have bactericidal effects. If a guava is very ripe, it would have a slightly laxative effect among some people while a very young fruit would have an anti-diarrhea effect. Its crushed flesh has been used for hundreds of years to make moisturizing treatments for the body and face.
Use of guava
When buying this fruit, look for a smooth and undamaged fruit with a flesh not too soft or too hard. A ripe fruit exudes a very strong fragrant. Guavas are usually available from the end of spring to August in grocery stores. Guava can be kept at room temperature until maturity. It can be placed in a paper bag to speed up the process. Once ripe, it can be kept in the fridge for a few days.
Its preparation is simple; the guava can be consumed as is with or without the skin, nature or cooked. You can make a jam or jelly. It can be added to sauces, fruit salads, tart, tapioca, ice cream or yogurt. In Mexico, people mix even guava and sweet potato together for an interesting combination. It can also be consumed in the form of juice and in beverages.
The benefits of guava
In natural medicine, guava is one of the most used fruits. It has nutritional powers that no one can deny. It is harvested from a small shrub growing in the tropics. Moreover, in Brazil, it bears the name of Goiaba. You eat its fruit directly without any preparation. Of course, it can be passed to the centrifuge to extract the juice. In some places, it is used to make ice creams and it can also be canned. Guava is a fruit that contains a lot of seeds.
The virtues of guava
The leaves of the bark of the tree are used in infusion to stop diarrhea. They also help alleviate nausea and intestinal problems. Similarly, this preparation will help you relieve sore throats and dizziness. They are very effective in regulating menstruation.
The guava contains a powerful antioxidant called quercetin. It has the power to prevent the formation of sorbitol. This is the sugar that is the cause of cataract which is a degenerative ocular disease affecting elderly persons.
The guava also contains folic acid. It is a vitamin B that fights against bad breath and is very useful for having stronger gums. Pregnant women should consume a lot of this vitamin because folic acid would prevent fetal malformations.
Guava has the ability to exterminate bacteria, amoebae and fungi that are accumulated in your organism. Its leaves are used to treat wounds because they have an anesthetic power. That’s why it is used in the Philippines at the dental level. For a toothache, just boil the leaves in ½ liter of water and filter the whole to the sieve. This preparation is a natural mouth bath which will greatly alleviate the pain.
When the fruit is ripe, you can make a fabulous dessert: guava paste sticks.
The guava has grown for more than 2000 in the warm areas of Africa and South America and can reach 6 meters high! It gives round or oval fruit, evoking the apple or pear, from 3 to 10 cm in diameter according to the varieties. The skin of the guava has different colors ranging from pale green to yellow or orange, with small black spots when it matures. It’s white, orange or pink pulp is very juicy and very aromatic. It’s rich in vitamin C, even more so than the orange and the kiwi. A fruit is just as tasty with low calories!
How to keep it?
The guara is a tropical fruit available throughout the year on the stalls. To choose a ripe guava, one prefers a soft fruit to the touch, but not too soft. It is a fragile fruit that can be stored for a few days at room temperature. You can also keep it a day or two in the fridge but not more, otherwise you may see it become hard and not tasty. Attention, too ripe, its scent becomes very strong, even unpleasant.
How to consume it?
The guava can be tasted natural or in fruit salads. This fruit combines vanilla, cinnamon and other spices very well. You can also appreciate all the qualities by preparing it in juices, syrups, pies, jams, compotes, foams and again for exotic and refreshing sorbets. For lovers of savory tastes, guava can also accompany white meats and fishes or give a small touch of exoticism to a green salad.