Native to the tropics, guava ( Psidium guajava) is one of the richest fruit sources of vitamin C, with each fruit providing more than 200 per cent of the recommended daily amount. They also contain a high amount of vitamin A, potassium (equal to bananas) copper, manganese and folic acid. They contain 50 per cent dietary fibre. Studies suggest their high levels of antioxidants may help prevent chronic diseases, including type 2 diabetes by lowering glucose levels in the blood.
Tropical guava trees produce round or pear-shaped fruit, with juicy flesh like a feijoa. It has a complex, resinous flavour. There are many different cultivars, but the main variety widely available in New Zealand is a South African cultivar that produces small mealy fruit with lots of hard seeds. They’re fine for juicing and jams, but aren’t really a dessert fruit.
Guavas grow into large shrubs; the fruit ripens in autumn and early winter. Tropical guavas are available from Subtropica, Russell Fransham Subtropicals, and in the Incredible Edibles range at garden centres.