|Nutritional value per 100 g (3.5 oz)|
|Energy||285 kJ (68 kcal)|
|Dietary fiber||5.4 g|
|Vitamin A equiv.||
|Pantothenic acid (B5)||
|†Percentages are roughly approximated using US recommendations for adults.
Source: USDA Nutrient Database
The most frequently eaten species, and the one often simply referred to as “the guava”, is the apple guava (Psidium guajava). Guavas are typical Myrtoideae, with tough dark leaves that are opposite, simple, elliptic to ovate and 5–15 centimetres (2.0–5.9 in) long. The flowers are white, with five petals and numerous stamens. The fruits are many-seeded berries.
Origin and distributionEdit
Guava was adopted as a crop in subtropical and tropical Asia, the southern United States (from Tennessee and North Carolina south, as well as the west and Hawaii), tropical Africa, South Asia, Southeast Asia, and Oceania.Guavas were introduced to Florida, US in the 19th century and are grown there as far north as Sarasota, Chipley, Waldoand Fort Pierce. However, they are a primary host of the Caribbean fruit flyand must be protected against infestation in areas of Florida where this pest is present.
Guavas are cultivated in many tropical and subtropical countries. Several species are grown commercially; apple guava and its cultivars are those most commonly traded internationally.Guavas also grow in southwestern Europe, specifically the Costa del Sol on Málaga, (Spain) and Greece where guavas have been commercially grown since the middle of the 20th century and they proliferate as cultivars. Mature trees of most species are fairly cold-hardy and can survive temperatures slightly colder than 25 °F (−4 °C) for short periods of time, but younger plants will likely freeze to the ground.
Guavas are of interest to home growers in subtropical areas as one of the few tropical fruits that can grow to fruiting size in pots indoors. When grown from seed, guava trees can bear fruit in two years, and can continue to do so for forty years.
The fruit is cultivated and favored by humans, and many animals and birds consume it, readily dispersing the seeds in their droppings. In Hawaii, strawberry guava (P. littorale) has become an aggressive invasive species threatening extinction to more than 100 other plant species. By contrast, several guava species have become rare due to habitat destruction and at least one (Jamaican guava, P. dumetorum), is already extinct.
Guava wood is used for meat smokingin Hawaii, and is used at barbecue competitions across the United States. In Cuba and Mexico, the leaves are used in barbecues.
(millions of tonnes)
|Source: Tridge Global Trade Platform|
In Mexico and other Latin American countries, the popular beverage agua fresca is often made with guava. The entire fruit is a key ingredient in punch, and the juice is often used in culinary sauces (hot or cold), ales, candies, dried snacks, fruit bars, and desserts, or dipped in chamoy. Pulque de guava is a popular alcoholic beverage in these regions.
In many countries, guava is eaten raw, typically cut into quarters or eaten like an apple; it is also eaten with a pinch of salt and pepper, cayenne powder or a mix of spices (masala). In the Philippines, ripe guava is used in cooking sinigang. Guava is a popular snack in Taiwan, sold on many street corners and night markets during hot weather, accompanied by packets of dried plum powder mixed with sugar and salt for dipping. In east Asia, guava is commonly eaten with sweet and sour dried plum powder mixtures. Guava juice is popular in many countries. The fruit is also often included in fruit salads.
Because of its high level of pectin, guavas are extensively used to make candies, preserves, jellies, jams, and marmalades (such as Brazilian goiabadaand Colombian and Venezuelan bocadillo), and as a marmalade jam served on toast.
Red guavas can be used as the base of salted products such as sauces, substituting for tomatoes, especially to minimize the acidity. A drink may be made from an infusion of guava fruits and leaves, which in Brazil is called chá-de-goiabeira, i.e., “tea” of guava tree leaves, considered medicinal.
Guavas are rich in dietary fiber and vitamin C, with moderate levels of folic acid (nutrition table). Low in calories per typical serving, and with few essential nutrients, a single common guava (P. guajava) fruit contains 257% of the Daily Value (DV) for vitamin C (table).Nutrient content varies across guava cultivars. Although the strawberry guava(P. littorale var. cattleianum) has only 39% of the vitamin C in common varieties, its content in a 100 gram serving (90 mg) still provides 100% of the DV.
Guava leaves contain both carotenoidsand polyphenols like (+)-gallocatechinand leucocyanidin. As some of these phytochemicals produce the fruit skin and flesh color, guavas that are red-orange tend to have more polyphenol and carotenoid content than yellow-green ones.
Guava seed oilEdit
Guava seed oil, which may be used for culinary or cosmetics products, is a source of beta carotene, vitamin A, vitamin C, copper, zinc and selenium, and is particularly rich in linoleic acid.
The composition of fatty acids in guava seed oil is presented in the following table:
Lauric acid <1.5% Myristic acid <1.0% Palmitic acid 8-10% Stearic acid 5-7% Oleic acid 8-12% Linoleic acid 65-75% Saturated fats, total 14% Unsaturated fats, total 86%
Since the 1950s, guavas – particularly the leaves – have been studied for their constituents, potential biological properties and history in folk medicine.
Guavas are one of the most common hosts for fruit flies like A. suspensa, which lay their eggs in overripe or spoiled guavas. The larvae of these flies then consume the fruit until they can proceed into the pupa stage. This parasitism has led to millions in economic losses for nations in Central America.
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