This homemade guava paste comes together with just 4 ingredients and is miles ahead of the store bought stuff in both flavor and texture. It's the perfect recipe to make if you have an abundance of fresh guavas.
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Guavas are a staple in many Puerto Rican recipes thanks to their tropical nature and uniquely sweet flavor. They have a flavor profile similar to a strawberry with a texture that's reminiscent to a pear.
The fruit can be found in recipes both sweet and savory recipes, my personal favorites being these pastelillos de guayaba and guava cheese empanadas.
What You Will Need
The most difficult ingredient to find for this recipe is the guavas! Other than that, the list is as simple as it gets:
- fresh super ripe guavas
- white granulated sugar
- powdered sugar
- fresh lemon
See recipe card for quantities.
Step by Step Instructions
Prep the guavas. Cut off the top stem piece, peel off the skin and any brown bits from the fruit. Chop the guavas into chunks.
Hint: There is no need to peel the guavas as the fibers in the peel will be strained out later in the cooking process. Feel free to leave the peel on if desired.
Boil with water. Add the chopped guava to a pot with water. Bring to a low boil before lowering to a simmer over medium low heat and cook for 30 minutes, or until fork tender. Mash with a potato masher or wooden spoon until the guavas are mushy.
Strain the cooked fruit. Run the puree through a strainer to remove the seeds and any solids. Use a wooden spoon to push the puree through the strainer. This will take time so be patient with this step.
I recommend using a metal mesh strainer for this step as it allows the fruit to move through but stops the seeds.
Important: Be patient as this step takes time; using a spoon to move the puree around will help significantly.
Combine with sugar & lemon & reduce. Add sugar, a few zests of the lemon peel, and all of the lemon juice to the puree. Mix well to remove any clumps before adding back to a clean pot on the stove top.
Cook over medium heat, stirring often for another 40-50 minutes, until the mixture thickens and darkens in color significantly (see images).
The paste should start to form into one ball or mass.
Pour into mold and chill. Transfer the paste to a parchment lined (or non stick sprayed) loaf pan, level with a spatula, cover and allow to cool to room temperature before transferring to the fridge to chill overnight, or until solid.
You can use any kind of baking dish or heat safe container for this step, but using a loaf pan results in that signature shape of store bought guava paste.
Store. Slice into chunks and store individually in the fridge wrapped in plastic wrap for up to 1 month. You can also store in the freezer for up to 3 months.
In recipe testing for this, I realized I've only ever had the store bought version.
And while store bought guava paste serves a wonderful purpose for people like me who live in regions where fresh guavas can be hard to find, it really can't compare to this homemade version.
If you look at the ingredients in the store bought paste, it's just guava pulp, sugar cane, and citric acid. An indicator that making it from scratch isn't that difficult.
The guava pulp is what informed the decision to simmer the fresh fruit with water and then strain out all seeds, peels, and solids.
From there we reduce the remaining pulp with sugar and lemon juice and zest to give it that citrus-y taste and aroma that the packaged version gets from citric acid.
Finding Fresh Guavas
If you live in a tropical climate, you might be lucky enough to have a guava tree in your backyard. Otherwise, you can likely find pink guavas at a local fruit market near you.
Here in the Pacific Northwest, finding pink guavas proved to be a difficult task. While many Latin markets near me have white guavas, I had to buy the guavas for this recipe online at Tropical Fruit Box.
Wherever you source your guavas, it's important to wait until they're super ripe to use them for this recipe. You will know they're ripe when the skin turns yellow, soft and fragrant in smell.
How to Use Guava Paste
Guava paste is about as versatile an ingredient as strawberry jam. The options are endless! Here are a few of my favorite ways to enjoy it:
- With a simple plate of cheese & crackers (it's especially tasty with a sharp cheddar)
- On toast with a spread of mascarpone cheese or butter
- On a charcuterie board to pair with pickled goodies, cheeses, and crackers
- Baked with puff pastry and cream cheese in these Pastelillos de Guayaba
- Stuffed in this homemade empanada dough with cream cheese to make these guava cheese empanadas
Tip: For a more spreadable guava paste , heat a piece of the finished paste with water over medium low heat (or zap it in the microwave with water for a few minutes) and mix until it's smooth and creamy.
You will need a mesh strainer to remove the seeds and solids from the paste and a stockpot to simmer the fruit in.
How to Store Your Guava Paste
To store, slice the loaf of guava paste into chunks widthwise and wrap and store individually in the fridge for up to 1 month. I recommend wrapping them tightly in plastic wrap , to keep them as fresh as possible.
They should keep for up to 3 months in the freezer. Make sure to thaw fully before using.