Food and Drink

   

In Season: Chilean Guava

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Chilean Guava, aka Strawberry Myrtle or Ugni, is having it’s best season yet, and last week I picked enough to make a decent batch of jelly. About the size of a blackcurrant, they have a delightfully aromatic, spice-like flavour. Best used as a sauce or jelly for pork or game meats, they’re also great in fruit salads and topped on ice-cream.

Whilst you can find Chilean Guavas in specialist fruiterers, demand is limited and they can be difficult to get hold of. They are, however, back in vogue as a landscape plant and you may be lucky enough to find them in the yard of a friend or neighbour. Like blackcurrants, they need to be ‘topped’ by removing their calyx when eaten fresh, but these can be sieved out when making a pulp.

Their main claim to culinary fame is that they were Queen Victoria’s favourite jam, but then she had minions to pick them.

Chilean Guava Jelly:
For 6 cups of fruit add 4 cups water and cook until soft.
Mash them and tie them in muslin to hang overnight, catching the liquid.
Add ½ a cup of sugar to the liquid and boil for 8-10 minutes, testing as for jam (they’re high in pectin.)
For a sauce to accompany desserts simply cook in equal volume of water until very soft, press the pulp through a sieve and add sugar to taste.