When life gives you guavas turn them into jelly, jam, butter, cheese, juice or just eat them fresh from the basket sprinkled with some tangy chaat masala. As I always say, anything guava is good. This lovely tropical fruit is versatile and utterly delicious. It also ranks high on nutrition scale. Low in calorie, rich in Vitamin C, dietary fiber and other nutrients, the sweet fleshy ripe guavas are my favorite for more than one reason.
There are lots of childhood memories attached to this humble fruit. What fun it used to be to forage them from the trees and run for life before one was caught and then relish it in some quiet peaceful corner. Guava trees used to be in abundance when I was a kid. Almost every home with a patch of land had one in the corner. We too had a small guava tree in one of our houses and it was a joy to behold so many different birds having a feast there. The guavas were sweet and delicious too.
I make guava jelly in every season. As the fruit has high level of pectin I never add artificial pectin. The jelly sets perfectly with the natural fruit pectin. It is basically a very simple recipe and I am sure al of you can enjoy making it at home. You can adjust the measurements sugar and water according to the liquid extract of the fruit.
To make this beautiful translucent jelly you need just four things.
Guavas – Ripe but firm 1 kg
Sugar – 4 cups approx ( 3/4 cup to each cup of liquid extract)
Lemon Juice – 4 tablespoon
Water – Enough to cover the fruits
- Wash and pat dry guava fruit that is ripe but firm. Too ripe and soft fruit has low quality pectin and won’t help jelly to set perfectly. Avoid the raw ones totally. You can use a mixed bag of guavas ripened to various stages. I used the firm, ripe ones.
- Chop the fruit and put it in a large steel pan with enough water to cover the fruit.
- Turn on the heat and bring the mixture to boil on high heat then reduce the heat and let it simmer till the fruit is soft and mushy,
- Once the fruit softens take a another pan and put a strainer that sits properly on its rims. (This is optional) Cover the pan with a muslin cloth that is wrung out in water so that it absorbs very little of the precious guava liquid extract. Pour the fruit mixture slowly on the cloth or jelly bag (if using) . I do this process twice to extract maximum juice. Once the fruit is strained I put it again to boil for 5-10 min in just enough water. Ten add it to the previous extract before tying the pulp in the jelly bag or muslin cloth.
- Gather the four ends of the cloth and twist and tie a knot or tie it with a string. Hang it at a safe place and let the liquid drip and collect in the pan. DO NOT squeeze the bag or this will make the jelly cloudy. Let the liquid collect preferably overnight.
- Once you have all the strained liquid , discard the pulp or make guava cheese from it.
- Measure the liquid and add sugar and lemon juice to it. For each cup of liquid add 3/4 cup of granulated white sugar and 1 tablespoon of lemon juice. Stir it properly and put it back on stove to boil in a heavy bottom pan. Make sure you use a large pan as the liquid will tend to over boil and spill. Always cook the liquid rapidly so there is no loss of pectin. Slow cooking destroys the pectin in the juice.
- I usually do not cook more than 4 cups at a time because the secret to flavorful and aromatic jelly is in its freshness. So, make it in small batches.
- Cook it on medium -high flame stirring constantly. Skim off the foam from the top of the liquid. By now your home will be fragrant with the intoxicating aroma of guava jelly. This is one aroma that you can not forget.
- Keep checking so that you do not overcook the jelly and turn it into a toffee. 😀 Once the liquid starts to drop off the spoon in two joined drops or coats the spoon even slightly and hangs from the spoon when inverted, turn the heat off.
- Do a plate test – Chill a steel plate beforehand in the freezer. Take it out and place a little jelly on it, if the top skin wrinkle or if you run a finger through it and the jelly takes its shape back it is done.
- Let it cool for 5 minutes and skim off all the froth and bubbles from the top before pouring it in the clean sterilized airtight jars. Always keep a cloth under the jar to prevent breakage.
- Let it cool before putting on the lids.
- Use this magnificent, delicious jelly as a spread or as a filling in cakes or just simply eat a spoonful whenever the craving hits you.
I made a sinfully delicious PBJS with homemade peanut butter and this jelly and while drooling on that realized that the treat wasn’t yet over. So, a little bit of both went into some yummy mug cakes. The jelly tastes best with fresh crisp toasts with a hot mug of coffee.