Monday, March 7, 2011

The Guava

Lady Jennie, a frequent visitor to this blog, writes this delightful  blog called "A Lady in France". In her recent post she had this thing going about Guava:

"I remember the friend I had in my co-teacher in Taiwan whose English name was Elva. But it was really Elva-Guava because I was trying to teach the children how to make the “v” sound and so had them chant all the words I could think of with “v” in it: “seven, eleven, Elva, Guava.”  The entire school chanted “Elva Guava” when she walked in the gate each morning."

Read all about Elva Guava and Lady Jennie's other adventures here.

What has all that got to do with this post, you might ask. Well, guava happens to be one of my favourite fruits and one of the many types of fruits grown on The Farm, so I thought today I'll write a little bit about this delightful fruit.

Guavas are plants in the myrtle family (Myrtaceaegenus Psidium (meaning "pomegranate" in Latin),[2] which contains about 100 species of tropicalshrubs and small trees. They are native to MexicoCentral America, and northern South America. Guavas are now cultivated and naturalized throughout the tropics and subtropics in Southeast AsiaHawaii, the CaribbeanFlorida and Africa. (Text from Wikipedia).

Google or Wikipedia will tell you all you want to know about how well-endowed with richness and vitamins this fruit really is. You can eat them fresh from the tree, turn them into really refreshing juice, or as a salad.

I grow two varieties of guava on the farm: the Jambu Batu (lit.: stone guava), and Jambu Air (lit.: water guava). 

Jambu Batu or Stone Guava is also known as Apple Guava

The stone refers to the numerous seeds inside the fruit. That's the way it used to be anyway - full of seeds inside which makes eating a little less pleasant. And the passing out of the undigested parts even more so. Not anymore.  The marvel of science had made this fruit completely seedless. So it is really fun to pluck it from the tree and taste its sweetness there and then.

A four-month old guava plant just transferred
from seedling bag to the field (notice the white flower)

Yes they do flower and bear fruit at this young age
as they are grown from grafted trees, not from seed -
they are seedless, remember? But early fruits are
normally castrated.

Formation of  fruitlets

A two-year old fruiting tree at sundown

Closer look under normal light. Fruits are wrapped
to keep away fruit flies and other insects

Fruits, three in a row. Helluva guava

Don't be turned off by the odd shape,
they are really quite tasty and

On the tree in the morning sun, the dew hasn't dried up

And off

The Jambu Air or Water Guava on the other hand looks and tastes quite different from the Apple Guava. (note: air is water in Malay. Not to be confused with angin or air, which is the stuff we breathe). As the name denotes this guava has high water content and is therefore less crunchy compared to the Apple Guava.

If you want to get technical (the scientific name is quite a mouthful) Wikipedia has the following intro to this lovely fruit: 

Syzygium samarangense (syn. Eugenia javanica) is a species in the Myrtaceae, native to PhilippinesIndiaIndonesiaMalaysia and Samoa.[1] Common names include wax applelove applejava applechomphu (in Thai), Mận or Royal Apple (in Vietnam), bellfruit (In Taiwan), Jamaican Apple,Otaheti Apple (in Jamaica), jambu air (in Indonesian), water applemountain applecloud applejambu air ("water guava" in Malay), wax jambu,rose applebell fruitmakopatambis (Philippines), and chambekka in Malayalamjamrul (in Bengali), and jumbu (Sri Lanka). It is called the nonu vaoin Samoan.[1]

I have one huge tree (must be ten years old now), and one that I just planted. This tree fruits two to three times a year, less often compared to the Apple Guava which fruits practically all year round.

I have only photos of the trees and flowers at the moment, not the fruit. So we'll have to wait till these flowers turn to fruits before I can show you how the fruit look like (or by all means Google it).

Young Jambu Air - as you can see it is quite different
from the Apple Guava seedling (first photo, above)

The 10 year old tree

Flowers just formed. Once opened they look quite similar
to the Apple Guava flowers.

That's it about Elva and Guava.

I now want to extend a warm welcome to my latest follower Poetic Justice. She has a blog called Tragic Creativity. Why it is so is for me to find out. She is my follower number 88. Now 8 is a very very auspicious number, as some of you may know. It stands for wealth, prosperity, and all things good. 88 is even better. Don't get me started on this now...


Akelamalu said...

I've never eaten Guava, in fact I don't ever remember seeing it for sale here. Thanks for all the information Grandpa, if I ever see Guava for sale now I will try it. :)

G.G. Mueller said...

My grandmother use to rave about guava. Where we lived that was about as easy to get as moon dust!
I will go find some. It sounds wonderful.

Wan Sharif said...

Nice guavas you have there..

Grandpa said...

Akelamalu, oh you should try it! I normally pluck and munch them in between meals. Not only they are refreshing, but it reduces my appetite for the main meals, which I won't eat so much!

G.G Mueller, oh dear...I wish I can send you some...try any Asian supermarket, or Chinatown in your area?

Wan, you can try them when you come over for the durians, which by the way are looking like 2-3 kg each instead of 1-2 kg that I wrote. Some branches with 4-6 fruits on them had already broken before the fruits are ready to drop...

NancyDe said...

Your guava, pictured here, looks different than mine! We have guava, and strawberry guava (little red guava), and waiawi, little yellow guava - I don't believe the latter two are true guava. As you know, I just picked a bunch and threw them to the chickens (after eating one or two, I must confess) due to lack of time and the fact that they don't keep well in the fridge....

Anonymous said...

I just LOVE these photographs! You commented today on my post that "you know, Ann, that I'm surrounded by green."

You are! Isn't it awesome! (My daughter would say so with a resounding high-five.)

Guava: Before my daughters accident, in another life--1975 that is--we lived for a year in Laie. But I don't think I ever ate a guava. And there were kiwi fallen on the ground that I didn't eat either, because at the time I was stupid. I didn't know how delicious these fruits were. Now I know! I just finished sharing a kiwi with my daughter. It was as delicious as this post; as your blog. Coming over here brightens my day!!!

Anonymous said...

p.s. I've GOT to find out the significance of 8!! And especially 88.

Grandpa said...

NancyDe, we have a few other varieties too, but these two are my favourite. The first one keeps well in the fridge but the second not so, I think because of the high moisture content.

Ann, thank you so much. We get to enjoy a variety of fruits here. For me apart from the fact that they are delicious, they provide me with natural sugar as a source of energy when I'm working on the farm;

Tell us what you find out about those numbers. I may do a post on it too, so watch out this space!

Say 'Hi' to Jen for me please Ann.

Happy Frog and I said...

I have always loved the number 8. I tried to get married on 08/08/08 but it got fully booked up so got married a week later. Still had to 08's though!

secret agent woman said...

I discovered guava in Hawaii. Good stuff.

Grandpa said...

Happy Frog and I, that would have been fantastic! Still, two eights are better than one.

secret agent woman, Hawaii does have a variety of delicious guava.

klahanie said...

Howdy Grandpa,
Once again, my friend, you have come up with a highly informative, fascinating, charming and light-hearted posting, complete with wonderful accompanying photos. And yummy, I love guava ! :)
I remember how excited I was when the 'following' on my shy, humble and apparently well kept secret blog, reached 69..but hey, that's another story :)
Have a peaceful and positive day and thank you so much for your supportive comment on my latest posting.
With respect and kind wishes, Gary.

Ohiofarmgirl said...

My little face is pressed up against my computer just hoping to get some of your sunshine...and a deep breath of those wonderful blossoms. Of course, you can't get tropical fruit in an Amish town.

Joylene Butler said...

I love your blog and I love your attitude and I love your photos. Life is good. Thank you, Grandpa. My loves are full of V, so that counts, eh?

Grandpa said...

klahanie, Howdy Gary! Thank you my friend for stopping by with your kind words. Your blog is an inspiration for many and with a growing following too. Take care, and have a peaceful week.

Ohiofarmgirl, it's a pity you can't get our fruits where you live. But I'm sure you have many others to make up for that. Thanks for being here as usual, pal.

Joylene, thank you so much for your kind compliments. Life is indeed good. Yes of course your V's count, every single one of them.
Have a nice day and a good week ahead Joylene.

Lady Jennie said...

Hey thank you for mentioning me! :-)

You know, I find that guavas taste like sweet grass.

Grandpa said...

Lady Jennie, no prob. My pleasure.
Sweet grass? I hope that is nice..:)

Pat said...

I love guava, too. And I especially like it cold, with a little bit of assam-boi powder on top! Naughty . . . but oh-so-nice ;)

Grandpa said...

Pat, yes, a lot of people are crazy over guava-assam-boi combo! You can get that, plus good quality pomelos and other fruits in season in Bidor, which is about forty minutes away from The Farm.

Anonymous said...

I don't think I've ever seen a guava on a plant before, very interesting. I would have expected them to be smaller. Thanks for sharing! We'll be so knowledgable coming here all the time :)

Grandpa said...

kangaroobee, Hi, you've made a keen and correct observation: generally guavas are much smaller than these. Mine are way above average, some approaching the size of a rock melon or cantaloupe! Fruits here have a way of growing really big - just look at my durians!

You are always welcome. Thank you.

caterpillar said...

Guava is one of my favorite fruits too...i like it with a bit of salt and paprika sprinkled on it....

Grandpa said...

caterpillar, Hi, I do that too - normally with unripe fruits or those that are not so sweet

The Manic Chef said...

Hi Grampa! I'm really liking how informative your blog is, and all that green! Can't wait for spring here! I've never eaten Guava, what does it taste like?, and can you get it only in China town here in Montreal? Your site is down to earth and I can actually 'feel the Love' coming from it. I wish my Dad, and grandfather's had been like you. Good photography also. Ok, trying to keep my comments short! Later....