Fruit of the day: Guava
I’ve been driving around to various groceries lately trying to find something exotic to profile. It’s been surprisingly difficult. I’m used to living in a fairly heavily Asian populated area so the grocery had all sorts of odd-ball (for Minnesota) things like Guavas, giant papaya, lychees and all that sort of thing. Now I live in an area that is mostly Eastern European immigrants and the fruit selection is much less exciting. Baked goods are more exciting (because now apricot filled donuts are a glorious part of my life) but fruit is much less exciting. I decided to make a trek down to the Super H Mart in Niles to see what fun they had. I’m so glad I did! H Mart is a chain of grocery stores specializing in Korean and Chinese groceries (but they have some of just about every Asian culture). The best part is that it’s super cheap. They’ve also got an insanely wide selection of produce (which is dirt cheap!). Well…most of it is cheap, some of it is really expensive, like the $30 box of asian pears (which really isn’t that expensive because they were bigger than softballs and it was like 20 of them but I don’t think Michael and I will be eating 20 pears before they all go bad). They’ve also got samples up the wazoo. They must have been sampling 30 different things today (including a few Chinese wines, octopus soup and dumplings). Anyways I’m getting off track. I tried to stick with produce that I’d be able to save seeds from or try and grow in some other way. I ended up getting a guava, Korean melon (which has such a strong smell that the apartment smells like summery melon all from one fruit the size of a baseball), tumeric root and purple yam.
Today I will be profiling the guava (Psidium guajava).
The guavas all had this lovely little foam covering on them to prevent bruising. I love how all the fruits that are imported from Asia had this mesh to protect them, they give their fruit so much care!
Since you can eat the whole fruit, rind and all, you generally want one that is blemish free. You can test ripeness by pressing with your fingernail. If the skin breaks it’s read to eat, if it doesn’t it needs to sit for a few more days. Avoid any that are squishy, they’re starting to rot.
You can eat the whole fruit, seeds and all. This is a good thing because the seeds are really small and there are a billion of them so it would suck to try and de-seed it. The rind has an odd clove-y taste (they are related to cloves after all!) and the flesh has a wonderful flavor that I can’t really describe. It has a bit of strawberry and pineapple in it but other than that I can’t really pin it down. They’re also very fragrant, you can smell the fruit before you even cut it open.
I personally didn’t like the rind very much so I just ate all the flesh and seeds out from the center. Supposedly the rind has a ton of nutrients in it but I couldn’t really get passed the clove flavor.
Since it’s a tropical fruit I’m going to go out on a limb and assume they need to be sown right away. Tropical fruit seeds generally don’t like to dry out so they should be washed off and planted right away.
Growing the plants on:
I’ve never really had much luck growing these as houseplants. The following info is from “Growing Tasty Tropical Plants”, which is a really excellent book with all sorts of fun information about growing tropical edibles as houseplants.
They want full sun and well drained potting mix. They seem to rot really easily and they also do not like dry air. They can be pruned any time the growth gets out of control. Fertilize about once a month with a good balanced fertilizer. Keep an eye out for mealybugs and spidermites.