Pink Guava: Our guide to this tasty pink tropical fruit!

We explore the wonderful Pink Guava fruit in detail – looking at its origins, its benefits, and some amazing recipes to try in your home kitchen.

This is the first part in our tropical fruit diaries series – a collection of posts that will take you on a journey through the delicious exotic fruits that are the star ingredients of our artisan jams.

How Awani Bali came to love Pink Guava Jam

The amorous pink guava has provided Indonesian cuisine with its intense flavour profile for centuries.

The flesh of the guava fruit ranges from white through to purple and, of more than 150 guava varieties worldwide, it is the sweetness, texture and potency of the Javan pink guava that make it the perfect base for our bestselling Pink Guava jam.

So if you’re inquisitive about the taste of our pink guava jam, unsure how it’ll fit in with your other flavours or perhaps not at all familiar with this rare fruit, you’ve landed in the right place!

We’ve learned so much about guava as our production has grown and we’ve gathered some of that knowledge in this guide so you can discover more about this superfruit and how it goes from fruit to jar. Read on…

Origin of the Guava

When the Portuguese explorers of the 1500s left behind the fertile plains of the New World, they took with them many of the lush oddities found in the lands of Mexico and Peru. And when they passed through the vast Indonesian archipelago, they were only too happy to share their bounty.

Amongst the natural riches lining their galleys was a smallish, pear-like fruit with a coarse, green, crowned exterior and a fleshy, seed-bearing core, long enjoyed by South American civilisations including the Aztecs and Inca.

And so this guava passed from the hands of explorers to the baskets of local farmers, where it thrived in its new East Asian climate, providing peoples across the East Indies with an exotic and abundant new form of sustenance.

Steeped in mysticism and woven into local folklore since first arriving in Asia, the guava quickly established itself as a staple within the Indonesian diet and now, over five centuries later, continues to grow in popularity across the world.

What Makes a Guava Pink?

In Bali, pink guava thrives in the tropical weather and bountiful volcanic earth. Classified as a berry by most botanists, its exterior may be unassuming yet slice it open and, if you’re lucky, you’ll be met with a rich flash of pink that justifies its sparking of endearing tales in Philippine mythology.

A pink guava occurs due to increased levels of the carotenoid pigment that gives colour to tomatoes and carrots, and it is through harnessing this quality in their crops over the years that Indonesian farmers can produce beautiful pink guavas in such abundance.

Here are two popular guava myths, both of which hint at the origin of the name of the fruit in the Philippines, bayabas. We find it fascinating that this rich culture grew around the guava as naturally as the fruit itself first took to the Balinese environment, and we hope you enjoy them as much as we do.

Guava Myths

The Selfish King Barabas

Some believe in a tale that the guava first grew from the burial site of the selfish, unloved Philippine King Barabas, a fat ruler who would delight in turning away those who came to his court begging for food, choosing instead to keep all of his kingdom’s finest food to himself.

Cursed by an old starving lady, King Barabas at first did not care. Though when he fell sick and realised he would die forgotten, his soul underwent change. And so he gave himself to his subjects, in the form of a crowned fruit that, like him, was a little sour and, also like him, was plentiful.

The locals rejoiced with this new fruit to sustain their families and celebrated in the late King Barabas, who in his passing became selfless.

Bay Abas the Orchard-keeper

Guavas ripening at the end of the monsoon

Others consider a myth that the guava was once poisonous and forbidden to eat, yet shed its danger at the behest of a young orchard-keeper, Bay Abas, renowned for sharing with the poor the fruit that fell in piles knee-deep about his meadow. However, one time when an old lady came seeking a meal, Bay Abas looked around and saw to his dismay that no single plant was fruiting. Well, none except the poisonous guava. So Bay Abas said a prayer to the gods, that this fruit might safely feed the old lady. He bravely took a bite, and found it tasted wonderful!

The poison in the fruit had been cast out by the kindness of the young boy, and from that day the guava was no longer forbidden.

A Beginner’s Guide to Pink Guava

Across all of Indonesia guava is a way of life. Since its arrival on the archipelago, the fruit has become a celebrated part of the local diet. The Indonesian name for pink guava is jambu biji and it sees many uses in local cuisine.

You may find jambu biji dipped into a syrup for a tangy dessert, brewed along with its leaves into a range of delicious infusions, used as a vegetable to accent several recipes of salad, or simply quartered and eaten raw. The opportunities are endless when cooking with pink guava, as you will see in our Pink Guava Recipe Gallery.

Now, we won’t make you wait any longer. Let’s find out how the pink guava grows and, most importantly, how it tastes!

The Pink Guava Taste

If you were to ask five people to describe the taste of pink guava, you’d likely receive five totally different descriptions!

We choose the freshest, ripest pink guavas for our jam

The versatility of pink guava is one reason we love it so much. It makes cooking an open-ended experience and unlocks the cherished feeling of culinary discovery.

We like to define the pink guava taste as a melting pot of strawberry, apple and pear – though you may also note familiarities of mango and pineapple. The pink guava delivers this exotic blend of flavours in every rousing bite, topped off with a sharp yet moreish citric flutter!

The Guava Plant

Wander through Bali and you will spot the guava fruit nestled in their hundreds amongst the papaya, cacao and coffee bushes of small family farm holdings scattered about the land in quaint patchwork. Their green-crowned bundles bob on the highland breeze, dusting the backs of the livestock they shade.

The guava plant is hardy, often reaching 25 metres into the air, lining village roads and separating plots with its mottled, orange trunk and broad, glossy leaves. In the summer, the guava plant blooms with stunning flowers in white, pink, yellow and red, their fibrous petals cupping sturdy and bright anthers like the tails of courting birds.

The journey of the guava plant is far from over – it has surged on from its South American origins and now grows with great success in warmer regions of North America and Europe, with the world’s largest producers being Pakistan, India and Mexico.

Pink Guava Season

Step into our traditional kitchen way up in the Balinese highlands between the months of March and May and the first thing you’ll notice is the mountain of pink guavas waiting to be made into our best-selling pink guava jam!

We capture the intense flavours as soon as the fruit arrives

At the height of pink guava season, the fruit lines our kitchen walls in crates and gives off a sweet, heady fragrance as they await peeling and pulping.

Thanks to our location within the Pacific Ring of Fire, we are blessed with the world’s sweetest pink guava, and we select only the most tantalising examples from our farmers and friends on the neighbouring island of Java for use in our jams.

We let the pink guava ripen on the tree so we can ensure that every jar we seal features the flavour of pink guava at its very best, along with a little of the magic that surrounds this seductive fruit.

7 Significant Guava Facts

  1. There are over 150 wonderful varieties of guava grown across the world
  2. While some guava are seedless, most contain 100-500 edible seeds
  3. It can take 2-6 years from planting a guava tree for it to bear fruit
  4. These tough plants can resist low temperatures and live for up to 40 years
  5. Guava leaves are used as a black pigment in the textile industry
  6. Guava wood is regarded for meat smoking, carpentry and engraving
  7. The world’s largest guava plantation is in Brazil’s Dom Eliseu municipality.

Pink Guava: The Amorous Fruit

We like to think of pink guava as the fruit of love – whilst not strictly an aphrodisiac, it certainly fills us with affection.

Our tasting sessions welcome aficionados of tropical fruit from all across the world who come to enjoy our pink guava jam. One thing they share is a deep love for this fruit, which comes through in their stories of childhoods spent amongst the guava plants growing in their homes, gardens and parks across faraway countries.

Whether it’s the food blogger giggling as she recalls pilfering pink guava from her grandmother’s garden in India, the Brazilian whose face lights up as he is reminded of the taste of his favourite goiabada dessert, or our South African friend whose smile grows wide in the middle of a rainy London tasting session as, with just one mouthful, he is for a second taken back home.

We are astounded and humbled by how much this little fruit can touch our core and reignite what means the most to us. Reminiscing about how we become who we are – and what we ate whilst doing so – is one of the finest qualities that food offers.

It is this love that keeps us hard at work, interpreting the flavours of Bali’s exotic fruits through the traditional Western craft of making small, open pan batch preserves.

Pink Guava Jam in the Awani Kitchen

In our traditional Balinese kitchen, shaded by volcanic crests and embraced on all sides by the humming wilderness, our chefs ensure each of our preserves encapsulates a little of the harmony that defines the Balinese way of life.

We’d love to share a small insight into just how our pink guava jam goes from fruit to final form.

We cook our pink guava jam in the traditional Western artisan style of small batches and open pans, and the result is a hand-crafted taste of Bali’s exquisite pink guava that will spice up your cooking as well offer a range of health benefits.

Pink Guava: Healthy and Nourishing

The Healing Fruit

Cutting pink guavas
The texture of a pink guava is a little like a pear and it’s packed with vitamins

For centuries the Balinese have sworn by guava for health benefits, and locals enjoy guava nutrition as a big part of their natural existence.

Pink guava fruit benefits include a richness in Vitamin A, Vitamin B, Vitamin C and Vitamin E, as well as manganese, magnesium, phosphorus, and beneficial phytochemicals.

The seeds of the pink guava offer dietary fiber, omega-3, and omega-6 polyunsaturated fatty acids, while guava leaves can be brewed into teas for maladies from toothache and diarrhea to fever and dysentery.

Further guava health benefits include the treatment of respiratory disorders, high cholesterol and blood pressure, as well as lowering risks of cancer and heart disease thanks to the fruit’s high pectin content.

Pink Guava Benefits and Nutrients

A single pink guava offers:

  • Over 4x more Vitamin C than an orange
  • 3x more proteins and 4x more fiber than a pineapple
  • Over 2x more lycopene than a tomato
  • More potassium than a banana!

These benefits are becoming better-known by the day, which is also providing guava jam UK health market relevance. Its fantastic taste is just the icing on the cake!

Our Pink Guava Recipe Collection

Pink guava is a popular base ingredient for Indonesian and Asian cuisine but its versatility makes it a perfect suitor to any style of dish – the only limit is your imagination! There are some recipes using fresh pink guavas if you can buy them locally. And if not, then try using our pink guava jam either slathered onto your breakfast croissant, or paired with combinations as eclectic as peanut butter or pecorino cheese!

Pink Guava Syrup

This guava syrup is a fantastic starting point that’s easy to make and provides a phenomenal glaze for spicing up any main dish with an East Asian twist.

Just throw 1½ cups of sugar, 2 cinnamon sticks, a tablespoon of whole star anise and a teaspoon of whole cloves into about 4 cups of water and bring to the boil.

Then take 4 ripe guavas, halve them and add to the boiling water to cook for 10 minutes. Once poached, strain the remaining liquid through a fine sieve and return to the pan for 15 minutes until reduced to about 1 cup.

And there you have it – a delightfully sticky guava syrup that is the perfect gateway to any number of dishes. Use it as the baste for an Asian-fusion guava chicken or whip it into a simple guava BBQ sauce to transform your garden into a Balinese grove this summer.

And don’t forget to keep those poached guavas for an insatiable garnish!

Pink Guava Tropical Fruit Salad

In Indonesia, fruit salad is often savoury. It’s called rujak manis which literally a sweet mélange of mixed fruit, complemented with a savoury condiment. The latter can take the form of a satay like peanut sauce, or simply a soya with chilli dipping sauce, according to personal preference.

Take 2 ripe but firm pink guavas, and add any other firm fruit you enjoy; pineapple, crunchy apples or pears, and some chunks of cucumber all work well. If you want to add a truly authentic Asian twist, add some cubes of cold deep fried tofu.

Make your peanut sauce with 100g dry roasted (not salted) peanuts, ground up in a blender, 75g palm sugar, ½ teaspoon each of tamarind and shrimp paste, mixed together with warm water.

Use wooden kebab sticks to spear, and dip your fruit for a more-ish snack or exotic salad with a difference for dinner.

Cooking with Pink Guava Jam

We would like to think that when you take the lid off a jar of our pink guava jam, the experience is as if you are tasting the real flavours of fresh, ripe, pink guavas. The adaptable tang of our pink guava jam will add a dash of Balinese paradise to your everyday cooking and fuel your culinary curiosity, making your guava food combining a joyous and open-ended experience.

Check out our suggested combinations, followed by some fantastic recipes by our dear friends around the world, then summon your inner experimentalist and create your own guava jam food pairings.

The Perfect Accent to Any Meal

Enjoy the bright hue and brighter taste of our pink guava jam atop a buttery croissant or toasted brioche for breakfast, or even combine with peanut butter for a funky combination that really works – try it, we dare you!

Awani’s award-winning pink guava jam

Pair with pecorino as part of an elegant cheese plate as well as bake with mascarpone for an indulgent and easy dessert that goes wonderfully with a pot of aromatic Earl Grey.

Try crushing pistachio with some ginger to create the base for some zesty guava cookies or guava shortbread cookies, healthier for your kids thanks to their guava vitamin C boost!

Our pink guava jam is perfect for a range of desserts including guava ice cream, guava smoothies and guava jelly – and for a timeless Awani favourite, use our pink guava jam to create a guava cheesecake with a tropical twist and irresistible velveteen hue.

Whether used as a spread or as the surprise ingredient of a show-stopping meal, our pink guava jam enriches you with all of the magic of its history as well as its unforgettable taste.

James Sellick’s Mascarpone and Pink Guava Jam Pastry Puffs

James Sellick’s Mascarpone and Pink Guava Jam Pastry Puffs. James is the quintessential “English Gent” and creator of a sublime range of chutneys and relishes here in Bali and also a good friend of ours.

“All you need is 1 packet of puff pastry, a tub of mascarpone, and of course some Awani Pink Guava Jam. It couldn’t be simpler – that’s why I like it.

To start you cut the required amount of puff pastry in rounds, or rectangles if you like. As if for vol-au-vents, you know, so it has a top and has a base?

Then score the pastry top to make a flap and lay the top layer of pastry onto the base. Cook in a hot oven until golden crisp then take out and fill the parcels with mascarpone and Awani pink guava jam. Spectacular, really!”

Peter Gordon’s Balinese Black Rice Pudding with Pink Guava Jam

Peter Gordon’s Balinese breakfast fusion dish

Peter Gordon, Chef and Owner at The Providores and Tapa Room, London has channeled the flavours of the East Indies into this stunning breakfast.

Peter was born in New Zealand, trained in Melbourne, and has restaurants in both Auckland and London. His illustrious career has been defined by fusion cuisine, an exciting approach to cooking that blurs and blends the differences in national cuisines. Read more about Peter’s  approach to fusion cuisine here.

Peter has worked his magic to create this Balinese black rice pudding, banana, pandan toasted coconut and our very own pink guava jam.

Show Us Your Creations!

We are always finding about new recipes for our jams thanks to your passion in the kitchen.

You thrill us each time you send in a new creation so if you’ve discovered another perfect partner for our pink guava preserves then share it on our social pages so we can showcase your panache.

To ensure you’re never short of inspiration when you buy pink guava jam, sign up to our newsletter for an ever-growing collection of recipes as well as competitions, special offers, exclusive news and much more.

Whether you’ve just made up your mind to try one of our pink guava jams or are already working your way through your third batch of the good stuff, thank you for being with us on this exciting journey.

Until next time, fruit lovers!

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