Words by Natasha Were
Dripping from trees across the Caribbean and Central America, the flesh, seeds and leaves of the guava have, for centuries, been prized for both their flavour and therapeutic properties. Indeed, the old adage "an apple a day keeps the doctor away" could just as well apply to guavas in tropical regions. Like apples, the fruit grows prolifically, keeps well without preservatives, and is brimming with fibre, as much vitamin C as four oranges and more potassium than a banana, plus a host of other health-boosting phytonutrients. The goodness of guava is about more than the delicately flavoured flesh, however: the leaves of the guava tree have long been used to treat diarrhoea, diabetes and obesity and the seeds can be dried and used as a stomach cleanser.
Now also cultivated throughout Asia and in parts of southern Europe, these humble fruits are highly versatile. Because of their high pectin content (a natural thickening agent) guavas make great jellies and jams, but are equally delicious eaten raw: slice them up and savour the sweet soft flesh in its natural state, jazz them up with a squeeze of lime, or add them to your morning smoothie. Alternatively, take a leaf out of India's cookbook and sprinkle an under ripe guava with a little salt and chilli for a tangy healthy snack. Delicious!
Fresh and local Guava and Mango Daiquiri:
Fresh guava and mango puree
1.5 oz Appleton Special Rum
0.5 oz Banana Liquor
Fresh squeezed lime juice
Pour all ingredients over ice
into blender and mix.
Guava Glazed Grilled Shrimp
6 tbsp mild-flavored, light molasses
3 tbs guava jam
1 1/2 tbsp butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
3 tbsp plus 2 tsp finely grated lime peel
32 uncooked medium shrimp, peeled, deveined
Fine sea salt
Glaze and shrimp can be made 8 hours ahead.
Cover separately and chill.
Microwave (approx 20 sec) molasses, jam and butter in medium
bowl until melted. Stir to blend. Stir lime peel into glaze.
Thread 4 shrimp onto each skewer.
Prepare barbecue (medium-high heat).
Sprinkle shrimp with sea salt.
Place 3 tbsp glaze in bowl; set aside.
Brush shrimp with some of remaining glaze.
Grill shrimp until just opaque in centre (approx. 2 minutes per side),
basting occasionally with glaze.
Drizzle with reserved glaze and serve.
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