in all varieties belongs to the genus Psidium guajava spp
., made up of some 100 Myrtaceae
family small tree species, native to the Caribbean as well as the warm and temperate zones of the Americas in general. The plant was domesticated in Mexico.
Aztecs considered guava one of most effective dysentery remedies known, and would make an infusion from the leaves of the xalxócotl
tree (as it is known in Nahuatl) or árbol del fruto arenoso
(i.e., “grainy fruit tree”), a name that refers to the fruit and its small, hard and abundant seeds.
trees grow up to 5 or 6 meters in height and feature elliptical to oval leaves, white flowers and a round, slightly-flattened fruit. The fruit’s color is light green when unripe, yellow when ripe, and is characterized by soft, thin and edible skin; the pulp is creamy or pink in color, according to the variety, as well as sweet and fragrant, and contains a large number of small, hard seeds.
are notable for their high vitamin-C content
best season for fruit harvest runs from September to February, and most production takes place in the Central Highlands. Aguascalientes is Mexico’s largest guava producer.
use guavas in Day of the Dead offerings; boil them alongside other fruits and spices in traditional Yuletide punches; fresh, they are eaten as dessert; ground, they become an ingredient in sorbets, popsicles, fresh fruit ades and milk shakes. Guava is cooked as a base for porridge, sweets and spicy sauces, pastries (empanadas
) and stuffed tamales. To extend their use life they can be cooked in syrup and made into jelly, ate
jam and marmalades. They play an important role in industrial nectar, juice and soft drink production.
traditional medicine, an infusion is prepared with leaves, branches or bark, and serves as an astringent to relieve intestinal or stomach pain. The infusion is also an effective treatment for inflamed or ulcerated gums, and can be used in compresses to salve wounds and other skin conditions.