Note: This post has a soundtrack. Listen accordingly.
I learned the word guayaba before the word guava. Growing up, I only experienced them during vacations in Mexico to see my family. Knowing I adored them, my grandfather would bring home a bag of them from the market, and I’d end up eating them all in one evening. Guava was a sickeningly sweet Kerns juice; guayaba was a fragrant, juicy piece of joy to bite into. I love them any which way: stewed with cinnamon, as ice cream, in the form of ate paste (or goiabada, in Brazil), but nothing compares to eating them fresh.
Now I’m in a country with goiabas, and I can eat them any time I want. I can barely handle this fact. Mexican guayabas are yellow with a nearly white flesh, while the Brazilian goiabas I’ve seen so far are larger and green with bright pink inside. There doesn’t seem to be much difference in taste, but interestingly enough the yellow ones are slightly higher in vitamins and minerals.
Even more than the taste, I’m obsessed with the sweet, slightly floral smell. I just need to pass by a stall at the feira and get a whiff to put me in a good mood. The aroma only gets stronger as they ripen, so I wait until they’re thisclose to going bad before I devour them.
I decided to try something different and have them in the form of syrup. Lately I’ve been on a homemade syrup craze, partly because it gives me something delicious to flavor my água com gás, and partly because it’s a fun way to make the kitchen smell heavenly for a few hours. It’s simple, it turned out well, and the best part is whenever I pour a bit in a glass and add cold water, the delicious smell releases into the air and my senses rejoice.
1/2 kilo (roughly 1 lb) guavas
2 cups turbinado sugar
1 cup water
sterilized 500 ml bottle or jar
Cut the black ends off the guavas and chop into quarters or eighths. Combine guavas with water and sugar and bring to a boil. Simmer for at least an hour. Remove from heat and let cool before straining and pouring into the bottle. Refrigerate. With the high amount of sugar, it will keep longer and the flavor is more concentrated.