Sunday, October 25, 2009

Summer in the midst of a Storm

Despite the incessant rain and typhoon-- I dream of summer and the cornucopia of fruits that it yields.

I was so thrilled when I accidentally stumbled upon a mound of native guavas, the small, sweet and fragrant kind. They were at the peak of ripeness that I just could not resist! And so I bought 2 1/2 kilos giddy with the thought that I will get to experiment on making guava jam.

What I see in supermarkets (which are rare these days) is guava jelly. What I wanted to make is true to the fruit, the result of which is a spread that is a dessert in itself!

I remember my grandmother had a lone guava tree in her backyard in Quezon City, next to the fruit-laden tamarind tree. The flesh of the guava was pink and almost sugar-sweet. The tree was short and easy to climb on. And my cousins and I would excitedly devour it. (on other days, we would pick from the neighbor's aratelis tree).

And so, I washed my guavas well and removed the seeds. The ones with soft and mushy pulp were the sweetest and I couldn't resist popping a few in my mouth. It was like going back to my childhood days of summer. The tougher ones, about less than ten pieces had to be removed, otherwise they will leave a bitter (mapakla) aftertaste. So my guess is, I was left with 2 kilos of guavas to cook.
I didn't put much sugar because the guavas were already sweet. I just needed the sugar to heighten the flavor and preserve it.

2 kilos ripe guavas, pitted, discard seeds
2 1/2 to 3 /2 c sugar
1 t salt
juice of 1 lemon

In a deep pot or wok, put the sliced guavas, add about a half to full cup of water, and when boiling, bring the flame down to a simmering heat, leave to cook for 30 minutes. Add salt and sugar and cook for another 15 minutes. Finally, add the lemon juice. When the fruit is soft, let it cool a bit and put in blender. You don't have to liquefy it as a few chunky bits make more enjoyable to eat. Put back in pot or wok and cook till thick and of spreadable consistency. It's like thick fruit sauce.

For me it's still best with thin crackers, with it's sweetness and crunch dancing in my mouth. Or on toasted wholewheat mainly because of the crunch and the earthiness of the bread.

As I was savoring my guava jam one cool morning, I thought it would probably go great with panna cotta. Too late-- my stash was almost gone! However, I have saved a little because I heard that it's wonderful sauce for baked ham. So, I'm saving some for Christmas. And that's not too far away. :-)

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