Guava Jam (mermelada de guayaba)


We love guava season! Here’s what’s so great about guavas:

  • They taste like a tropical version of a pear
  • When made into jam, the whole house smells lovely
  • Half of them are a beautiful shade of pink on the inside

Here’s what’s not so great about guavas:

  • Since they’re small, peeling them for jam takes a long time
  • They’re prone to worminess (because they’re so sweet)
  • They’re full of seeds

So, making jam out of guavas can be a long process, but for me it’s totally worth it.

Sometimes people are confused about guavas because in some places, guavas are as large as a tennis ball, green on the outside, white on the inside, sour, crunchy, and a bit dry. Both fruits really are guavas, but they’re very different from each other.

It’s a very short season, so we have to make the most of it while it lasts. When we find them at the market, they usually don’t have many guavas, so we might buy all of them! Sometimes we can’t find them at the market at all even though we know there are lots of ripe ones on trees. I think the problem is that Lao people like them unripe and sour, so by the time guavas get to the sweet, soft, fragrant stage, Lao people are tired of them and don’t think it’s worth it to bring them to the market. Guavas only cost about 50 cents a kilo (or 25 cents a pound)! Last week James was in a village for work and asked if they had any guavas and whether could he buy some. No, he couldn’t buy any because no one had time to pick them, but he was welcome to pick them himself for free. So he did! James and a little boy picked 3 kilos of guavas! They probably could have gotten more, but James didn’t want to burden me with too much jam making.

How to make guava jam:

  1. Peel and roughly chop all your guavas.
  2. Weigh them. For every kilo (or 2 pounds) of guavas, add 2 cups of sugar.
  3. Stir guavas and sugar together in a large pot on the stove
  4. Simmer over low heat for 15 minutes. At the beginning stir frequently until the guava juice is released.
  5. Remove from heat and blend with a hand-held soup blender. (You could also use a standard blender.)
  6. Strain all the seeds out. You need the right kind of strainer for this step. Look for a metal one that has holes smaller than the guava seeds. Use a spoon to scrape back and forth across the strainer until all the pulp has gone through.
  7. Return to the stove and simmer over low heat until the jam is thick.

One response to “Guava Jam (mermelada de guayaba)

  1. Sarah,
    Guava jam. Gotta love it. I strongly suspect there is a market for a Laotian cookbook, Sarah.

    The next time we’re in Chicago together, we are going to have hotpot at the Mandarin Kitchen. A friend from Beijing says it’s spectacular.


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