The guava flavor is absolutely delicious and definitely unmatchable. Last week we have guava jam. It is almost a crime to see so much guavas and not take advantage of its seasonality. Imagine that in La Trinidad there is even a place called Bayabas? 

According to old timers, it was so called because the trees grew there almost wild and completely lush. But now, I guess civilization has caught up with the place, and instead of trees, there are now houses. So much for civilization. 

But then, don’t let’s bewail progress, let’s just make guava dishes.  

The most frequently eaten species, and the one often simply referred to as “bayabas'” guavas, is the one called psidium guaiaya. Guavas have tough dark leaves that are opposite, simple, elliptic to ovate and rather long, 3 to 6 inches long. They have white flowers, with five petals and numerous stamens.     

So much for guava background. Another few recipes then before we leave the guava. How about ginataang bayabas and guava jelly?  A word of encouragement. We all know how difficult it used to be to make good jelly. One would have to have a candy thermometer to get just the right temperature of the jelly stage, and watch your jelly like a hawk. These days with either agar or gelatine, it is kinda easy to make.    

The origin of guavas was rather simultaneous, and extended from Central America and came to the Philippines via Mexico. Read the Galleon Trade from Mexico. The mature trees are fairly cold hardy, hence their thriving in our very own Baguio City.  

Guavas are of interest to home growers in subtropical areas as one of the few tropical fruits that can grow to fruiting size in pots indoors. When grown from seed, guavas bear fruit as soon as two years and as long as 40 years.  Imagine you can even grow a guava tree in a lard can.

On to our recipes.  

First of all you have to choose firm, ripe guavas.  Wash well and cut off ends and slice.  This for both ginataan and jelly.

Begin with jelly:

Place slices in a large pot with enough water to just cover them. Boil until fruit is very soft (15 - 20 minutes). 

Pour fruit into a bag made of cheese cloth, muslin or two thicknesses of clean flour - or sugar - sack. For clear juice, do not squeeze the bag. 

To serve as a drink, mix with three other juices such as pineapple, orange and or calamansi, add lots of ice sugar to taste and produce a wonderful drink.

To make jelly, measure the juice add sugar to taste, and agar flakes or powder to the proportion of one teaspoon to one cup of juice (this is a firm mix, like gulaman, to make a softer mix, used 1 1/2  to 2 cups of juice to one teaspoon of agar powder).  Bring the sugar/juice to a boil, add the dissolved agar, and again bring to a boil.  Pour into jars and you have your guava jelly.  The pulp may be used to make jam, (see previous week's recipe) although the taste wont be very guava.

Ingredients:  for ginataang bayabas

3 cups seeded and sliced ripe guavas

1-1/2 cups coconut milk

1/2 cup sugar

1/2 cup coconut cream kakang gata

1 cup of bilobilo or cooked sago

A pinch teaspoon salt

If you use coconut milk powder, boil the guavas in water and add sugar when the guavas are soft, then pour in the coconut cream powder. Some purists use fresh coconut, but expediency you certainly can use the powder kind.

How to cook Guavas With Coconut Cream (or Ginataang Bayabas)

Boil the guavas, bilo bilo, coconut milk and sugar.

Add salt and stir; boil until guavas are cooked.

Remove from fire and add coconut cream.

Serve cold

That’s it, have merienda or serve as a dessert 

When we were kids, we had a few guava trees around our yard, and we would harvest for ginataan for merienda