In Pakistan there are amrood everywhere perfuming the air when the fruit sellers spray them with water. This must be a good selling ploy as they smell wonderful! Unfortunately we’re very wary of them having eaten some that weren’t quite ripe last year. The problem was that we ate too many as they are delicious. However, don’t let our greed stop you from trying the recipe below, it’s very tasty. We have the guavas which have white flesh and green skins here in Pakistan, or yellow skinned ones with a creamy flesh. I hadn’t realized that they were guava as I had only previously eaten the pinky-red variety.
  In the Romance languages these fruit have names that are obviously guava, but in Guam they call them abas so I had to include that piece of information, and in Urdu they are amrood. There are many different varieties around the world, but it is believed that they originated in Mexico and Central America. 
The Portuguese brought them to the Indian subcontinent in the 18th century and they have flourished. They have grown in Egypt for a long time and are known to grow in Algeria and Morocco. They were spread around the world by the 16th century Spanish and Portuguese explorers. One of the first places they were exported to were the West Indies in 1526. They were said to be a favourite of the Aztecs and Incas. The bark of the trees is very distinctive as it is a copper colour although this outer bark peels off to reveal the green under layer.
   The leaves are particularly used in traditional medicine and so are the young fruits and the bark, all of which contain tannin. You can get a black dye for dying silk from the leaves too. The wood from the trees is used for carving, and because of the high tannin content the bark is used in Central America, it is used for tanning hides.
   A tisane can be made from the fresh or dried leaf which relieves diahorrhoea. You need 1 cup of boiling water to 1or 2 tsps of fresh leaves (1 tsp dried). Pour the water over the leaves and leave to steep for half an hour for medicinal purposes. This tisane also acts as a diuretic and stops the E.coli bacteria sticking to the walls of the intestines and urinary tract.
This is also good in the treatment of diabetes as it inhibits the increase of blood sugar in plasma, but has no effect on the level of insulin in plasma. It’s also good for dieters as it helps reduce body fat and is an antioxidant which combats the free radicals in the body which damage cells and can cause cancer.
   The Tikuna Indians living in the Amazon use a decoction of the leaves and bark as a cure for dysentery and diahorrhoea, for stomach upsets, vomiting, to regulate periods and as a douche for vaginal discharge, and to tone the walls of the vagina after childbirth. The decoction is also used to apply to wounds. The young leaves are chewed for mouth ulcers, bleeding gums and bad breath, and if you chew them before drinking they are said to prevent a hangover.
   Researchers have shown that the guava leaf has antioxidant effects which are beneficial to the heart. Consumption of the fruit over a 12 week period lowered blood pressure and cholesterol levels. Guavas are used in Peru and Brazil as diuretics and they contain carotenoids, saponins, flavonoids, essential oils and fatty acids. They have been called one of nature’s “super fruits.” In some parts of the world they are called “the poor man’s apple”.
   Guavas have a long history of cultivation and the seeds have been found in food stores in archaeological sites in Peru, showing that the ancient people’s used to cultivate them, even though they grew wild.
costa rica guava
    You can do a lot of things with guavas including using the juice in cocktails. One really refreshing drink is made from 2/3 rds guava juice and 1/3 Portuguese vinho verde or any other sparkling wine. Simply stir the mixture well and add ice.
    For a quick appetizer, cut guavas in half around the middle, scoop out the seeds and put cottage cheese in the cavity add a few chives and serve on lettuce leaves.
Use them in a sauce with chicken and pasta and light rum – you need spring onions, 1 cup of guava juice a tbsp fresh lime juice ¼ cup light rum and shredded coriander leaves. Pound the chicken breast halves so they are very thin and fry them on both sides until cooked (about 4 mins each side)  then remove them and fry the onions for a few minutes, next add the juices and finally the rum. Boil the sauce until it has thickened, add the chicken to heat it through and serve with your favourite pasta.

1 kg guava (white or cream flesh)
1 tsp salt
1 tsp chilli powder
1 tbsp sugar

Cut the guava in half across the middle and scoop out the seeds.
Mix the salt, chilli powder (red) and sugar together (you can put it in a jar and shake it well). Put this into the amrood shells and rub in to the flesh. Leave to stand for 15 minutes before eating.
This has Taste and is a Treat.

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