I seem to have dozens of half written posts and not so great photos banked up, shoved into random folders to get back to after Bentley. There’s a late pick of turtle beans being slow cooked and turned into a kind of ful medames. There’s the new induction hotplate so we can fast cook using solar electricity. There’s the first harvest of red claw from the dam and a fairly spectacular red claw pasta. There’s the first flush of the citrus glut and kumquat marmalaide. There’s the new drake named Bentley because he arrived the day of the (provisional) victory.
But I’m going to start with this one because the time for it is right now. Guavas are in glut right now and I keep seeing unharvested trees everywhere. Guava jelly, which can be made as jam to spread on toast (just by using half the quantity of sugar) but is spectacular as a firm jelly to eat with cheese on crackers is the only really good thing I know to do with a glut of guavas, but it’s a really good thing to do with it. I don’t make a lot of jams or jellies – in general I find fresh fruit better than the version cooked down with lots of sugar for just about every kind of fruit. But the flying foxes and birds love our guavas and strawberry guavas so much that even the uneaten fruit risks little bite marks and I don’t fancy sharing saliva with a bat. And though I love the aroma of guavas I’m not so keen on the texture. This took me literally minutes to make and was worth depriving the bats.
I used a mixture of guavas and strawberry guavas, the big ones roughly chopped and the small ones just left whole. Add a bit of water to start them off, then cook enough to make a soft mash, that you can strain through a chessecloth to get the juice. I did this stage in a pressure cooker, which meant I only needed to add a little water – about a third of a cup for each cup of guavas – and pressure cook for just a few minutes. If you cook in a pot you will need to add a bit more water and cook for maybe 10 or 15 minutes.
I lined my big colander with cheesecloth and sat it over a pot, poured in the guava mash, let it strain for 5 minutes, then twisted the cheesecloth to make a little bundle and weighed it down with my heavy mortar and pestle to squeeze out all the juice. This is important even if you have so many guavas you can just waste them because the seeds have the pectin in them, so that last squeeze of juice is the one that makes it set.
Put a saucer in the freezer.
Grease a plate with a lip with butter (or two or three if you are making a large batch).
Measure the guava juice back into a pot, and for each cup of juice add a cup of sugar and the juice of quarter of a lemon. I used raw sugar because that’s what I had, but if you want the clear jewel like jellies, refined white sugar would be better.
Cook, stirring occasionally, for about 10 minutes till it starts to thicken, then test it every couple of minutes by putting a teaspoonful on the cold saucer till it turns to jelly.
Working quickly (or it will set in the pot) pour the jelly out onto the greased plate and tilt to spread it into a thin layer. It will set in a couple of minutes and you can use a sharp knife to cut it into squares.
If you are not serving straight away, chill the jellies in a single layer before you put them all in a container in the fridge, or they’ll stick together.
With camembert or brie or white castello cheese and crackers, it’s a gourmet feast.
My daughter made this with jaboticabas. She sent me the pic. “It is so good mum. Same recipe as your guava jelly on witcheskitchen.com.au but with cinnamon and nutmeg and star anise. So simple for such an extravagant treat.”