We can’t grow the wonderful tropical guava in New Zealand but Cherry Guavas grow well here. They come in both red and yellow varieties. I have planted a few of these, mostly for screening and to fill awkward spaces. The fruit can be a bit inconspicuous, tucked away in the foliage but they come in late autumn when there is not a lot else around.
I have tried making guava jelly (which was the only thing I had heard of doing with them) previously but managed to make a rather unappetising Guava Concrete. So for many years I have done nothing more than sample a few fruit from the tree if I was gardening in that area when they were ripe. The birds have scored well there.
This year I decided that I would try making the jelly again.
You simply need equal quantities of fruit juice and sugar for this recipe, so you can just make as much as you want, although don’t make a large quantity at a time.
Put the fruit in a preserving pan and barely cover with water, simmer until very soft and all juice has been extracted.
Strain through a jelly bag and allow juice to drain – do NOT squeeze the bag.
Allow 1 cup of sugar to 1 cup of juice. Put juice into a preserving pan and boil rapidly for 5 minutes. Skim if necessary and add sugar – stir until sugar is dissolved. Cook rapidly until a little tested in a saucer sets. Pour into sterilised jars and seal.
According to the Edmonds Cookbook, “a perfect jelly is clear, bright and tender, and when cut with a spoon has a clean surface. When turned from the glass, jelly should hold its shape and should quiver but not break”.
It also says “Do not make a large quantity at a time. Quick boiling is the secret of a good jelly. Do not squeeze jelly bags or jelly will not be clear. Windfall apples, quince and apple skins and cores make excellent jelly”.
Well I can report that I have managed to make a perfect jelly! It is clear, bright and tender as required. But I’m not sure that I will bother making it again unless I find someone who loves it. It is a bit too sweet and ‘perfumey’ for me.