Posts Tagged ‘guava’

Crop and Swap Feb 2017

I haven’t attended a crop and swap in quite a while; one because they’re an 80km round trip for me, and secondly – I’ve run out of honey! I haven’t harvested honey since November 2016. The season has been a bit odd and a lot of colonies have failed around the Sydney basin due to infestation of small hive beetle overcoming them, or not enough pollen/nectar due to the funny weather.

Up until now, I have just been doing one-on-one swaps, and racking up an incredible number of kilometres on the car.

But for the last crop and swap for February 2017, I figured that I would make an effort to head to the proper event in Lane Cove.


Crop and swap – out:

Crop and swap - out

This is what I brought with me to the swap event. Two pots of thyme. Two jars of preserved guava – from 2015. I didn’t think it would be safe to bring or subject anyone else to my jars of unset seville marmalade (5 years ago), or various guava jams and guava jellies, made even longer ago! Two jars of kombucha scoby “jerky”.Two packets of native frangipani seeds, collected from my own tree. Beeswax (of course), some rendered as cupcakes, and some as it had come out of my solar wax extractor.

Crop and swap – in:

Crop and swap Feb 2017 - in

1.5litres of worm wee. Kale. Warrigal greens. Genovese Basil. Armenian cucumber. 2 cloves of garlic. 2 finger limes. 1 lime. Lemon balm (plant). 3 chilli peppers – one of them was a scotch bonnet. I love getting chillies, I love their shape, but I can’t eat them!

I had put in a special request for bee friendly plants, so I ended up with several kinds of salvia cuttings (black knight, hot lips, something with bluish flowers, one with lilac/blue flowers); Fruit salad sage cuttings and indian borage. There was a shopping bag filled with chocolate mint. I was debating whether or not I could try and and get a curry leaf branch to take as a cutting (since I had failed earlier in the month), and then another crop swapper offered me a seedling from her garden, I just had to pop past on my way home.

For the seeds I got some for crookneck squash, kohlrabi, dill, and ‘warpaint watermelon’ – which were a wonderful iridescent blue colour. With a name like that, I thought the watermelon would be similarly coloured, but a search for information on the seeds says not.

My drive home was in a scented lemon-ish, chocolate mint haze.

I then spent the afternoon potting my newly acquired cuttings in the glorious, glorious sprinkling rain, and playing “identify this cutting”.

I stir fried the warrigal greens as a side dish to dinner

I turned the fruit salad leaf cuttings (which I had had taken off to reduce transpiration loss) into a iced tea tissane:

Herb infusion

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Preserved Guavas

.. or guavas in syrup.

My usual method of dealing with the guava crop gives you a giant zip lock bag of frozen guavas, and no easy way to use them. Because they haven’t been individually frozen, the only way to get at them is to kind of whack at the bag until bits fall off, and then use it in a fruit smoothie (which I don’t do).

I had such success with the guava pie, that I have also frozen rectangular takeaway containers of guava pieces, already dotted with butter, sugar and cinnamon. I had planned to premake pies, and freeze them for a later day baking, but it was too much effort and time consuming to do so, what with holding down a full time job, studying, and trying to have a life. I then thought that I could use lay out the guava slices in the rectangular takeaway containers, so that I could pick up individual pieces later for cake making and such. That turned out to be much too fiddly and time consuming – not doing that one again.

Then I discovered the Guava Producers’ Association website, and in particular their recipe corner.

Guavas, deseeded

I had already quartered and deseeded a bunch of the better looking fruit, with the vague idea that I would bottle/can it somehow. I guess guavas are a bit of a rare fruit, because it was really hard finding any information on what type of sugar syrup to pair with the guava. Is guava a more acidic fruit, so can I use a light sugar syrup? Or is it less acidic on the ph scale, so I have to use a heavier sugar syrup? At last here was a solution – 250g in 500ml water, to me is equivalent to a medium sugar syrup.

Here, instantly, was a recipe.

I actually ended up using apple juice (Do you know how HARD it is to find actual apple juice that has been produced in Australia at the supermarket?!!) which I had already purchased (10% sugar solution) – 7 cups of which I then added 1/2 cup of sugar. So that’s ~um ~ 15 % solution. Okay. So it ended up being a very light sugar syrup then. Probably not the best if you’re reusing pasta sauce jars for your preserving.

1 x 2 litre ice cream box of guava quarters
1750 mL apple juice (only 1000mL seems to have been used)
100 g sugar
= 4 small bottles of preserved guavas.

These were then hot packed into their jars, and boiled in a water bath.

Preserved Guava

I tried to leave enough headroom in the smaller jars for water bath processing, but the fruit is not fully covered with the syrup. I think that I’m going to have to open these jars, either remove some fruit/add extra sugar solution, and re-process. I’ve had some green tomato relish go nasty because there wasn’t enough liquid in the jar. Although, pickyourown – preserving peaches seems to indicate that not enough water is OK.

“If fruit is not covered by liquid it may darken during storage (but does not necessarily mean it is spoiled, as all fruits will darken somewhat).”

I later on found the Technical Manual of the FAO of the United Nations (whew, what a mouthful!):

“The packaging medium may be constituted by the juice of the guavas, obtained by squeezing the pulp that contained the seeds. Add sugar to the juice to obtain a certain Brix°, according to the final degree of sweetness desired (usually, the syrup should be of about 30-35 Brix°.”

but I had no idea what a brix was. It turns out that it is a fancy way of saying “percent”; so 30-35 brix means a 30-35% sugar solution.

Apparently a guava in syrup is a totally different beast to fresh guava. So I can’t wait to try it!

Megan Pie

When I was visiting the USA, I had a friend make an apple pie from scratch. I was so keen to go and taste it, I kept chanting MeganPie MeganPie MeganPie. The pie was very good indeed. Homemade pie crust, slices of apple dotted with butter, sprinkled with cinnamon and sugar. Any good pie now is deemed a MeganPie.

So when I returned home to find that the guava season was still in full swing, I made my very own MeganPie.

I had a pie tin souvenired from a lovely pie restaurant in the Berkeley area.

The pie tin

Shortcrust recipe was from the Italian cookbook The Silver Spoon*.

It was quite simple – By weight, One measure flour, half measure sugar, half measure butter. Zest from a lemon.

This made a crumble like breadcrumbs. The recipe omits cold water, of which you add tiny droplets just until the breadcrumbs combine into dough, but not too far such that it becomes sticky and that you need to add flour to compensate in the other direction. I think that it actually uses less butter than the shortcrust I made using The Cook’s Companion (yes – 50g less).

Shortcrust pastry

Here are my ingredients that go into making the pie. I forgot to add the butter in the photo, but it is there.

Pie ingredients

For the filling, I just used sliced deseeded guava, dot with butter, sprinkle with sugar and cinnamon, repeat.

Guava pie

The lid was made up of several bits of crust that I had rolled out, but was not able to make into one large piece. Amazingly, when I cooked this, it looked like I had done this on purpose to give the lid texture and make more crispy bits.
My slackness with the pie crust meant that there were steam release holes designed in.

I baked this at 180 degrees for 30 minutes, as per Stephanie Alexander directions for a rhubarb pie.

It filled the kitchen with a wonderful lemon smell whilst baking.

The pie was so very good when eating just after baking, the crust retained its crunch even the next day. My neighbour rated it 10 out of 10. My mum said that it was “nice”.

I then saw a recipe in the newspaper for apple pie with tahini filling and cardamon crust. The timing was perfect – I would use cardamon in my next pie crust, but not the additional fiddly filling – I want to make sure that the guava flavour is prominent in the pie, without being masked by other flavours.

The cardamon didn’t smell as good as the lemon shortcrust whilst baking, however, it added a nice contrast to the guava filling.

I think that this year’s guava crop stars in the Year of the Pie. I’ll definitely be making this one again. Perhaps a lemon and cardamon crust?

Guava pie

*I think this makes a grand total of three recipes that I have made from this book so far. Grilled Whiting, Cauliflower with green sauce, and now shortcrust pastry. A search of my blog says I’m telling furphies, and I also used the book for the chestnut and rosemary cake. That’s a 0.2% recipes used so far.

Harvest Monday … a little bit late

This years’ guava harvest is early.

But I’m now fighting a battle on ***three*** fronts, up from one last year.

Bats eating the fruit when raw.
Fruit fly laying little grubs whenever they feel like.

And these guys:

Lorrikeets

Bloody lorrikeets!

They like to knaw on the fruit just as it has ripened and about to drop to the ground. They are then scattering the seeds all over the place so it looks like a cat has vomited copiously on my lawn.

Bits of uneaten fruit fermenting in the sun then attract the fruit fly, who lay grubs.

I have been trying to collect the fallen fruit and bagging it to minimise the spread of the fruit fly. But there is so much fruit! 80% of the stuff is affected by fruit fly I can’t give it away. Plus I am so busy at the moment, I don’t have the time to make jam/jelly products.

I have been ‘processing’ as much as I can: seeding and degrubbing the fruit then placing it in ziplock bags in the freezer. Apparently freezing may reduce the amount of pectin, but I’ll deal with it when I get there.

Processed Guavas

So! This week the harvest is:
6kg guava (3kg processed)
1 tomato
Bayleaf, Parsley and Vietnamese mint leaves.

Great Guava Roundup

Here is a photo of my guava tree.

Three weeks later, I have:

* harvested 14 -21 kg of fruit
* introduced many people to the delights of pink guavas
* inspired several people to grow their own guava trees (I haven’t told them about the 30 year waiting period)
* spent six full days in the kitchen prepping, boiling sterilizing, baking
* made 20 various jars of guava jelly, jam & butter
* baked varieties of guava tart, torte and bread (shame it doesn’t start with ‘T’)

For completeness, I’ll mention that an Indian acquaintance used some of the guavas to make a savoury guava juice using lemon juice and pepper.

While hunting for that recipe, I found a recipe for an Indian-style guava chutney.. Hmm, I might have to try that next year.

And how could I forget: the snow egg from Quay, as featured as a challenge on the masterchef tv show!

Now, please, no mention of guavas for at least six months.

Guava Butter

After throwing kilos of boiled guava “pulp” after making myguava jelly into the Bokashi bucket, I thought I would investigate using it. I am supposed to be minimising my impact upon the environment

Charmaine had a recipe for Guava Butter

Guava Butter
Per cup of de-seed boiled guavas, leftover after making the jelly:

3/4 cups of sugar (184 grams)
Strained juice of one lime (approx 1 tablespoon)
Heaped tablespoon of softened butter (15g), in small chunks.

Don’t cook more that 4 cups at a time, because you can’t get the mix hot enough.

Put the de-seeded guava pulp in a large bowl, and microwave to steaming.

Add in the softened butter and lemon juice, stir.

Microwave for 2 minutes at a time, stir to combine until thick and piping hot.

The butter needs to be steaming hot because that’s how you maintain the sterilty and longevity of your goodies.

Spoon the guava butter into hot sterilized jars out of the oven.

Fill each jar almost to the top with a 1cm gap.

Seal immediately with new jar lid, or
the Fowlers Vacolla ‘kleerview’ plastic jam covers. These are neat, because as the contents cools, you can see the seal being sucked back towards the jar.
The steam seems to permeate through the seal whilst hot. No doubts that hot air takes up more space than cool air!

If using the kleerview seals, screw on the original jar lid on top to protect the seal. I’ve been doing this after the contents have cooled down, but I’ll report back later in the year if this destroys my plastic seal.

I only had enough space in my big bowl to do 3 cups.

You can also cook the guava butter on the stove, but because it is so thick, it spits all over you and the stove.

So here we are on the far right: my very first batch of guava butter.

Guava Jelly and Butter, a photo by A Sydney Foodie on Flickr.

And it tastes *so* good.

I won’t be giving this one away!

I wonder though – how long does this last? It does contain dairy after all. If you used clarified butter (ghee), would it last longer?

Guava and Macadamia Nut Torte

After I declared my over-abundant guava crop, I received several links to this recipe by Steve Manfredi in 2007 on cuisine.com.au.

My friend Sarah managed to beat me in trying out the recipe.

I’ve modified it, because I didn’t see the sense in trying extract seeds after you’ve pureed the fruit – seems like a lot of fruity goodness would be wasted. Don’t forget to save the little soft bit in the middle of the seed ball as your own reward.

This was made with a small chopping bowl that comes with my stick blender, as I don’t have a food processor as such.

Guava and macadamia nut torte
400g de-seeded guavas
80g macadamia nuts, processed to a rough meal
150g self raising flour
100g raw sugar
125g softened butter
1 egg
1/2 tablespoon of molasses
2 tablespoon good sipping tequila, rum or whiskey
Slivered almonds for decoration
2 tbsp jam for glazing
Rosewater or orange juice for glazing

Reserving 3 guavas, blend the rest into chunky strips. I had to do this in two batches because my chopper bowl is small.

Guava Torte: Prep, a photo by A Sydney Foodie on Flickr.

Crumbled the butter and sugar together. Add the egg and molasses, and mix until combined. Add the guava puree, and stir through. Sift the baking powder with the flour and add this gradually to the wet mix, mixing to combine. Finally, stir in the ground macadamia meal.
Oil, and then line the base of your tin with baking paper and dust with flour.
I had some leftover sour cream pastry from my guava tarts, so I lined the edge of my 25cm quiche/flan tin with the pastry and stuck it in the freezer for 20 minutes. Bake for approx 10 minutes until the crust edge is a light brown, then remove from oven.
Pour the torte mix into the cake tin. Decorate with thin slices of the reserved guava and slivered almonds.
Bake at 180 degrees C for 40 minutes. The original recipe states 30 minutes, but my cake was still terribly soggy at that stage.

For the cake glaze, warm a 2 tablespoons of jam (guava jelly, naturally) on the stove with a splash of rosewater. I thought that if I used the tequila again, it would overpower the glaze. When the glaze is warm, brush over the top of the cake.

I then returned the cake to the oven for another five minutes to set the glaze.

Cool the torte on a wire rack, serve with yoghurt or cream.

Guava Torte, a photo by A Sydney Foodie on Flickr.

I had a lot of fun trying to dislodge the torte from the tin, flipping the cake onto the plate to remove the baking paper before it stuck permanently, and then letting the torte cool from underneath. I then of course had to flip it again so it was right side up. This dislodged and broke more pastry bits off.

Verdict: tastes delicious, and reports were that it was very guava-like in flavour. I unfortunately seem to have become immune to guava taste though! The pastry crust went very well: and would’ve been quite elegant if I hadn’t broken it. The overall effect wasn’t too sweet, and goes quite well with vanilla yoghurt which cut through the richness. The rosewater and jam made me go ‘ew’ when I tasted it on its own, but worked quite well as a glaze.

Lessons learned and possible modifications? I would use less butter, maybe 100grams. I think a lot of the perceived cake ‘sogginess’ was because the butter was still bubbling away. I would also consider substituting cooked guava (the cake still seemed a bit raw and undercooked); and pre-toasting the almonds for a nuttier flavour prior to decorating the torte.