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Jamaican Guava And Jamaican Food Recipes
Using The Jamaican Guava In Jamaican Recipes
The Jamaican guava scientifically called psidium guajava is sometimes known as guyava or kuawa. The place of origin of the Jamaican guava is uncertain, but it is believed to be an area extending from southern Mexico into or through Central America. It has been spread by man, birds and other animals to all warm areas of tropical America and in the West Indies (since 1526). Jamaican guava is one of the most gregarious of Jamaican guava fruit Jamaican guava trees, Jamaican guava is almost universally known by its common English name or its equivalent in other languages. In Spanish, the tree is guayabo, the Jamaican guava fruit guayaba. The French call it goyave and the Dutch, guyaba. Various tribal names–pichi, posh, enandi, etc.–are employed among the Indians of Mexico and Central and South America. The Jamaican guava has become naturalized in practically all tropical and subtropical areas of the world.
The Jamaican guava has been cultivated and distributed by man, by birds, and sundry 4-footed animals for so long that its place of origin is uncertain, but it is believed to be an area extending from southern Mexico into or through Central America.
It was soon adopted as a crop in Asia and in warm parts of Africa. Egyptians have grown it for a long time and it may have traveled from Egypt to Palestine. It is occasionally seen in Algeria and on the Mediterranean coast of France. In India, Jamaican guava cultivation has been estimated at 125,327 acres (50,720 ha) yielding 27,319 tons annually. Jamaican guava cultivation did not begin in Hawaii until the early 1800's. Now it occurs throughout the Pacific islands. Generally, it is a home Jamaican guava fruit tree or planted in small groves, except in India where it is a major commercial resource. A Jamaican guava research and improvement program was launched by the government of Colombia in 1961. In 1968, it was estimated that there were about 10 million wild Jamaican guava trees (around Santander, Boyacá, Antioquia, Palmira, Buga, Cali and Cartago) bearing, 88 lbs (40 kg) each per year and that only 10% of the Jamaican guava fruit was being utilized in processing. Bogotà absorbs 40% of the production and preserved products are exported to markets in Venezuela and Panama.
Brazil's modern Jamaican guava industry is based on seeds of an Australian selection grown in the botanical garden of the Sao Paulo Railway Company at Tatu. Plantations were developed by Japanese farmers at Itaquera and this has become the leading Jamaican guava-producing area in Brazil. The Jamaican guava is one of the leading Jamaican guava fruits of Mexico where the annual crop from 36,447 acres (14,750 ha) of seedling Jamaican guava trees totals 192,850 tons (175,500 MT). Only in recent years has there been a research program designed to evaluate and select superior types for vegetative propagation and large-scale cultivation. In Florida, the first commercial Jamaican guava planting was established around 1912 in Palma Sola. Others appeared at Punta Gorda and Opalocka. A 40-acre (16 ha) Jamaican guava grove was planted by Miami Jamaican guava fruit Industries at Indian-town in 1946. There have been more than two dozen Jamaican guava jelly manufacturers throughout the state. A Sarasota concern was processing 250 bushels of Jamaican guavas per day and a Pinellas County processor was operating a 150-bushel capacity plant in 1946. There has always been a steady market for Jamaican guava products in Florida and the demand has increased in recent years with the influx of Caribbean and Latin American people. The Jamaican guava succumbs to frost in California except in a few favorable locations. Even if summers are too cool–a mean of 60º F (15.56º C)–in the coastal southern part of the state, the tree will die back and it cannot stand the intense daytime heat of interior valleys.
In many parts of the world, the Jamaican guava runs wild and forms extensive thickets–called "guayabales" in Spanish–and it overruns pastures, fields and roadsides so vigorously in Hawaii, Malaysia, New Caledonia, Fiji, the U.S. Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico, Cuba and southern Florida that it is classed as a noxious weed subject to eradication. Nevertheless, wild Jamaican guavas have constituted the bulk of the commercial supply. In 1972, Hawaii processed, for domestic use and export, more than 2,500 tons (2,274 MT) of Jamaican guavas, over 90% from wild Jamaican guava trees. During the period of high demand in World War II, the wild Jamaican guava crop in Cuba was said to be 10,000 tons (9,000 MT), and over 6,500 tons (6,000 MT) of Jamaican guava products were exported.
The tropical Jamaican guava is best adapted to the warm climate although it can be grown in coastal areas with some protection, selected areas north to Mendocino County. Jamaican guavas actually thrive in both humid and dry climates, but can survive only a few degrees of frost. The tree will recover from a brief exposure to 29° F but may be completely defoliated. Young Jamaican guava trees are particularly sensitive to cold spells. Older Jamaican guava trees, killed to the ground, have sent up new shoots which fruited 2 years later. Jamaican guavas can take considerable neglect, withstanding temporary water-logging and very high temperatures. They tend to bear Jamaican guava fruit better in areas with a definite winter or cooler season. The adaptability of the Jamaican guava makes it a serious weed tree in some tropical areas. The smaller Jamaican guava cultivars can make an excellent container specimen.
Jamaican guavas are evergreen, shallow-rooted shrubs or small Jamaican guava trees to 33 ft, with spreading branches. Growth in California is rarely over 10 - 12 feet. The bark is smooth, mottled green or reddish brown and peels off in thin flakes to reveal the attractive "bony" aspect of its trunk. The plant branches close to the ground and often produces suckers from roots near the base of the trunk. Young twigs are quadrangular and downy. Jamaican guava leaves are opposite, short-petioled, oval or oblong-elliptic, somewhat irregular in outline, 2 - 6 inches long and 1 - 2 inches wide. The dull-green, stiff but leathery Jamaican guava leaves have pronounced veins, and are slightly downy on the underside.
The Jamaican guava tree is normally 33 ft (10 in) high, with spreading branches, the Jamaican guava is easy to recognize because of its smooth, thin, copper-colored bark that flakes off, showing the greenish layer beneath; and also because of the attractive, "bony" aspect of its trunk which may in time attain a diameter of 10 in (25 cm).
The Jamaican guava fruit, exuding a strong, sweet, musky odor when ripe, may be round, ovoid, or pear-shaped, 2 to 4 in (5-10 cm) long, with 4 or 5 protruding floral remnants (sepals) at the apex; and thin, light-yellow Jamaican guava skin, frequently blushed with pink. Next to the Jamaican guava skin is a layer of somewhat granular flesh, 1/8 to 1/2 in (3-12.5 mm) thick, white, yellowish, light- or dark-pink, or near-red, juicy, acid, sub-acid, or sweet and flavorful. The central Jamaican guava pulp, concolorous or slightly darker in tone, is juicy and normally filled with very hard, yellowish seeds, 1/8 in (3 min) long, though some rare types have soft, chewable seeds. Actual Jamaican guava seed counts have ranged from 112 to 535 but some Jamaican guavas are seedless or nearly so. When immature and until a very short time before ripening, the Jamaican guava fruit is green, hard, gummy within and very astringent.
The blooming flowers are faintly fragrant, the white flowers, borne singly or in clusters in the leaf axils, are 1 inch wide, with 4 or 5 white petals. These petals are quickly shed, leaving a prominent tuft of perhaps 250 white stamens tipped with pale-yellow anthers. Jamaican guavas are primarily self-fruitful, although some strains seem to produce more Jamaican guava fruit when cross-pollinated with another variety. Jamaican guavas can bloom throughout the year in mild-winter areas, but the heaviest bloom occurs with the onset of warm weather in the spring. The exact time can vary from year to year depending on weather. The chief pollinator of Jamaican guavas is the honeybee.
Jamaican guava fruits may be round, ovoid or pear-shaped, 2 - 4 inches long, and have 4 or 5 protruding floral remnants (sepals) at the apex. Varieties differ widely in flavor and seediness. The better varieties are soft when ripe, creamy in texture with a rind that softens to be fully edible. The flesh may be white, pink, yellow, or red. The sweet, musky odor is pungent and penetrating. The seeds are numerous but small and, in good varieties, fully edible. Actual Jamaican guava seed counts have ranged from 112 to 535. The quality of the Jamaican guava fruit of Jamaican guavas grown in cooler areas is often disappointing.
The Jamaican guava will tolerate many soil conditions, but will produce better in rich soils high in organic matter. They also prefer a well-drained soil in the pH range of 5 to 7. The tree will take temporary water logging but will not tolerate salty soils. The Jamaican guava seems indiscriminate as to soil, doing equally well on heavy clay, marl, light sand, gravel bars near streams, or on limestone; and tolerating a pH range from 4.5 to 9.4. It is somewhat salt-resistant. Good drainage is recommended but Jamaican guavas are seen growing spontaneously on land with a high water table–too wet for most other Jamaican guava fruit Jamaican guava trees. In all Jamaican soils, Jamaican guava responds well to fertilizer applications.
Jamaican guavas have survived dry summers with no water in California, although they do best with regular deep watering. The ground should be allowed to dry to a depth of several inches before watering again. Lack of moisture will delay bloom and cause the Jamaican guava fruit to drop.
Shaping the tree and removing water shoots and suckers are usually all that is necessary. Jamaican guavas can take heavy pruning, however, and can be used as informal hedges or screens. Since the Jamaican guava fruit is borne on new growth, pruning does not interfere with next year’s crop. Shape ranges from round, ovoid to pear-shaped. Weight from one ounce to as much as one pound. Jamaican guava skin color usually yellow with flesh ranging from white, yellow and pink to red. Jamaican guava fruit ranges from thin-shelled, with many seeds embedded in a firm Jamaican guava pulp to thick-shelled with few seeds. Flavor from sweet to highly acid. The distinctive aroma ranges from strong and penetrating to mild and pleasant.
Jamaican guavas are fast growers and heavy feeders, and benefit from regular applications of fertilizer. Mature Jamaican guava trees may require as much as 1/2 pound actual nitrogen per year. Apply fertilizer monthly, just prior to heavy pruning.
Overhead protection and planting on the warm side of a building or structure will often provide suitable frost protection for Jamaican guavas in cooler areas. A frame over the plant covered with fabric will provide additional protection during freezes, and electric lights can be included for added warmth. Potted plants can be moved to a more protected site if necessary.
Jamaican guava trees are relatively difficult to propagate by usual methods. Consequently Jamaican guava seed is still commonly used, although varieties do not reproduce true to type this way.
Jamaican guava seed remains viable for many months. They often germinate in 2 - 3 weeks but may take as long as 8 weeks. Since Jamaican guavas cannot be depended upon to come true from Jamaican guava seed, vegetative propagation is widely practiced. One of the difficulties with budded and grafted Jamaican guavas is the production of water sprouts and suckers from the rootstocks.
Under Florida conditions, commercial plantings are spaced 20 or 25 feet between rows and between plants in the row. However, if provisions are made to top and hedge as needed, distances can be shortened to 12 to 15 feet between plants in the row. Jamaican guavas lend themselves well to pruning, which facilitates grove management practices in close planting. Pruning hastens flowering and fruiting by promoting vigorous flushes of new growth which bear larger Jamaican guava fruit. The best time for planting Jamaican guava trees is in early summer at the beginning of the rainy season. Young plants can be expected to produce half a bushel of Jamaican guava fruit in the third year of planting, and mature Jamaican guava trees will produce up to 8 to 10 bushels per year.
Foliage diseases, such as anthracnose, can be a problem in humid climates. They can be controlled with regular fungicide applications. Where present, root-rot nematodes will reduce plant vigor. Jamaican guava whitefly, Jamaican guava moth and Caribbean Jamaican guava fruit fly can be major problems in southern Florida, but have not been reported in North America. Mealy-bugs, scale, common white flies and thrips can be problems in California. In some tropical countries the where Jamaican guava fruit flies are a problem, the Jamaican guava fruit is covered when small with paper sacks to protect it and assure prime quality Jamaican guava fruits for the markets. Jamaican guava trees are seriously damaged by pets that devour the Jamaican guava tree and Jamaican guava fruit. The citrus flat mite the tree is attacked by 80 insect species, including 3 bark-eating caterpillars and the Jamaican guava scale, but this and other scale insects are generally kept under control by their natural enemies. The green shield Jamaican guava scale requires chemical measures to treat, as does the Jamaican guava white fly, and a weevil, which bores holes in the newly forming Jamaican guava fruits.
The red-banded thrips feed on Jamaican guava leaves and the Jamaican guava fruit surface. Cockchafer beetles feed on the Jamaican guava leaves at the end of the rainy season and their grubs, hatched in the soil, attack the roots. The larva of the Jamaican guava shoot borer penetrates the tender twigs, killing the shoots. Sometimes aphids are prevalent, sucking the sap from the underside of the Jamaican guava leaves of new shoots and excreting honeydew on which sooty mold develops. The Jamaican guava fruit worm invisibly infiltrates hard green Jamaican guava fruits, and the citron plant bug, the yellow beetle and the Jamaican guava fruit-sucking bug feeds on ripe Jamaican guava fruits. A false spider mite causes surface russeting beginning when the Jamaican guava fruits are half-grown. Jamaican guava fruit russeting and defoliation result also from infestations of red-banded thrips.
There are other minor pests, but the great problems wherever the Jamaican guava is grown are Jamaican guava fruit flies. The Jamaican guava is a prime host of the Mediterranean, Oriental, Mexican, and Caribbean Jamaican guava fruit flies, and the melon fly. Ripe Jamaican guava fruits will be found infested with the larvae and totally unusable except as feed for cattle and swine. To avoid Jamaican guava fruit fly damage, Jamaican guava fruits must be picked before full maturity and this requires harvesting at least 3 times a week. In Brazil, choice, undamaged Jamaican guavas are produced by covering the Jamaican guava fruits with paper sacks when young (the size of an olive). Wasps that attack the larvae and pupae of the Caribbean Jamaican guava fruit fly and have somewhat reduced the menace that they cause.
Jamaican guava crop (mainly from wild Jamaican guava trees) may be ruined by the uncontrollable fungus, which mummifies and blackens immature Jamaican guava fruits and rots mature Jamaican guava fruits this may similarly affect 40% of the crop on some Jamaican guava trees in South India.
Fungus is responsible for much infectious Jamaican guava fruit rot causing stem-end rot in Jamaican guava fruits damaged during harvesting. Severe deficiency symptoms of Jamaican guava trees was attributed to nematodes and nematicide treatment of the soil in a circle 3 ft (0.9 in) out from the base restored the Jamaican guava trees to normal in 5 months. Zinc deficiency may be conspicuous when the Jamaican guava is grown on light soils. It is corrected by two summer sprayings 60 days apart with zinc sulphate.
Wilt, associated with fungi brings about a gradual decline and death of undernourished 1-to 5-year-old Jamaican guava trees in West Bengal. A wilt disease brought about by the wound parasite causes the death of many Jamaican guava trees, especially in summer, throughout Taiwan. Wilt is also caused by other fungi which invade the trunk and roots through tunnels bored by the larvae beetles. Anthracnose may attack the Jamaican guava fruits in the rainy season. Canker on green Jamaican guavas in India causes the Jamaican guava fruit to rot in storage.
Severe losses are occasioned in India by birds and bats and some efforts are made to protect the crop by nets or noisemakers. The parasitic red alga is troublesome in Jamaican guavas, particularly in some varieties under conditions of high humidity. Copper, perhaps the best material for its control, should be sprayed as soon as the first symptoms appear on the Jamaican guava leaves. Root-knot nematodes can cause severe damage to the roots of young Jamaican guava trees in sandy soils. Injury can be overcome to some degree by the use of fertilizers, mulching and irrigation.
Jamaican guava whitefly and scale insects can be controlled with oil sprays containing 4-5 quarts of emulsifiable oil in 100 gal water or by a combination of oil (4 qts) plus 4 lbs of malathion 25% wettable powder (or 2 pints of the malathion liquid, containing 5 lbs active material per gal) in 100 gal water.
Jamaican guava fruit fly has been the most serious insect pest of the Jamaican guava fruit. Larvae hatch from eggs laid within maturing Jamaican guava fruit and burrow through the ripe Jamaican guava fruit making it unsuitable for eating or processing. No satisfactory control for the fly has been developed.
Jamaican guava moth although not as damaging as the Caribbean Jamaican guava fruit fly, the moth larvae spoil the ripe Jamaican guava fruit by tunneling through it. A satisfactory control has not been developed.
In warmer regions Jamaican guavas will ripen all year. There is a distinctive change in the color and aroma of the Jamaican guava that has ripened. For the best flavor, allow Jamaican guava fruit to ripen on the tree. The can also be picked green-mature and allowed to ripen off the tree at room temperature. Placing the Jamaican guava fruit in a brown paper bag with a banana or apple will hasten ripening. Mature green Jamaican guava fruit can be stored for two to five weeks at temperature between 46° and 50° F and relative humidity of 85 to 95 percent. Jamaican guava fruit that has changed color cannot be stored for any extended periods. It bruises easily and will quickly deteriorate or rot. Commercial juice varieties have rock hard inedible seeds, deep pink flesh and hard yellow rinds. They are not good for eating out of hand but have extremely high vitamin C content.
Jamaican guavas are the only commercially significant myrtaceous Jamaican guava fruit. It is an important Jamaican guava fruit in many parts of the world suitable for its production. Jamaican guava is one of the leading Jamaican guava fruits of Mexico. Commercial production of Jamaican guava in Jamaica is hampered by the presence of Jamaican guava fruit flies.
Formerly, round and pear-shaped Jamaican guavas were considered separate species–P. pomiferum L. and P. pyriferum L.–but they are now recognized as mere variations. Small, sour Jamaican guavas predominate in the wild and are valued for processing. There are over 80 variations of Jamaican guava. Selected from a seedling population derived from Jamaican guava fruits found all over the world.
Hong Kong Pink Jamaican guava – Selected at Poamoho Experimental Farm, Oahu, Hawaii from Jamaican guava seed obtained from a clone grown in Hong Kong. Medium to large, roundish Jamaican guava fruit weighing 6 - 8 ounces. Flesh is pinkish-red, very thick, and smooth-textured. Flavor sub acid to sweet, very pleasant, few seeds. Tree spreading, high yielding.
Mexican Cream Jamaican guava – Originated in Mexico. Small to medium-small, roundish Jamaican guava fruits. Jamaican guava skin light yellow, slightly blushed with red. Flesh creamy white, thick, very sweet, fine-textured, excellent for dessert. Jamaican guava seed cavity small with relatively soft seeds. Tree upright.
Red Indian Jamaican guava– Originated in Dade County, Fla. by Fred Lenz. Introduced in 1946. Medium-large, roundish Jamaican guava fruit, of strong odor. Jamaican guava skin yellow, often with pink blush. Flesh medium thick, red, sweet, quality good. Ascorbic acid content averages 195 mg per 100 g fresh Jamaican guava fruit; total sugars 7 - 10%. Seeds numerous but small. Good for eating out of hand.
Ruby X Jamaican guava – Hybrid of the Florida cultivars Ruby and Supreme. Small, roundish Jamaican guava fruit. Jamaican guava skin greenish-yellow. Flesh dark pinkish-orange. Flavor delicious, sweet, Jamaican guava seed cavity 33% of Jamaican guava pulp. Tree bushy, low growing, with vigorous branches drooping outward.
Sweet White Indonesian Jamaican guava – Large, round Jamaican guava fruit, 4 inches or more in diameter. Thin, pale yellow Jamaican guava skin. Thick white, melting flesh of a sweet, delicious flavor. Edible seeds in cavity surrounded by juicy Jamaican guava pulp. Vigorous, fast growing tree bears several times a year.
White Indian Jamaican guava – Originated in Florida. Small to medium-sized, roundish Jamaican guava fruit, 2-1/2 to 3 inches in diameter. Flesh thick, white, moderately seedy. Excellent, sprightly flavor. Tree somewhat of a shy bearer.
White Seedless Jamaican guava – An improved selection from Florida with seedless, white flesh of good quality.
Webber (formerly 'Riverside') Jamaican guava – of medium-large size, pale-yellowish flesh, good flavor and 9.5% sugar.
Rolfs Jamaican guava – of medium size with pink flesh; of good quality and containing 9% sugar.
Hart Jamaican guava – fairly large, with pale-yellow flesh, and 8% sugar content.
Apple Color Jamaican guava –of medium size, slightly oblate; deep-pink Jamaican guava skin, creamy-white flesh, moderate amount of seeds, very sweet flavor (0.34-2.12% acid, 9 to 11.36% sugar); heavy bearer; good keeping quality; good for canning.
Behat Coconut Jamaican guava – large, with thick white flesh, few seeds; poor for canning.
Chittidar Jamaican guava – medium to large, round-ovate, white-fleshed, mild acid-sweet flavor; bears moderately well; keeps well; good for canning.
Habshi Jamaican guava – of medium size with thick, white flesh, few seeds; halves good for canning.
Lucknow 42 Jamaican guava – of medium size, roundish, with creamy-white, soft flesh; sweet, pleasant flavor; very few seeds; good quality; bears heavily; keeps fairly well; not suitable for canning.
Lucknow 49 Jamaican guava – medium-large with cream-white, thick flesh, few seeds; acid-sweet; good quality; heavy bearer; high in pectin and good for jelly; halves good for canning.
Safeda Jamaican guava – of medium size, with very thin Jamaican guava skin, thick, white flesh, few seeds. Outstanding quality for canning. A famous Jamaican guava, widely planted, but susceptible to wilt and branches are brittle and break readily.
'Smooth Green'–of medium size, with thick white flesh, few, small, hard seeds. Halves are firm, good for canning.
Allahabad Jamaican guava – large, white-fleshed, with few, medium-sized, fairly hard seeds.
Karela Jamaican guava – medium-large, pear-shaped, furrowed, rough-skinned, with soft, granular, white flesh; sweet, rich, pleasant flavor. Poor bearer. Not popular.
Nagpur Seedless Jamaican guava – small to medium, often irregular in shape; white-fleshed.
Seedless Jamaican guava – medium to large, pear-shaped to ovoid; with thick white flesh, firm to soft, sweet. Light bearer; poor keeper.
Other less used varieties include
Elisabeth Jamaican guava – large, round, pink – fleshed, very acid; good for processing.
Red X Supreme X Ruby Jamaican guava – large, ovoid, with deep-pink flesh; agreeable for eating fresh.
Large White Jamaican guava – large, round, white-fleshed; low sugar content, astringent; can be useful as filler in preserves.
Acid Speer Jamaican guava – large, round, with pale-yellow flesh; acid; recommended only as source of pectin.
Ruby X White Jamaican guava – large to very large, pear-shaped, with creamy-white flesh; good for eating fresh and for juice and nectar.
Pink Indian Jamaican guava – of medium size, red-fleshed; agreeably acid; good for eating fresh and for processing.
Red Hybrid Jamaican guava – medium, sub-ovoid, red-fleshed; medium quality.
Stone Jamaican guava – small, ovoid, with deep-pink flesh; attractive and of agreeable flavor for eating fresh.
Supreme Jamaican guava – small, ovoid, with pale-yellow, pink-tinged flesh; sweet; good for sherbet and paste; very productive.
Anakapalle Jamaican guava – small, with thin, red flesh, many seeds; not suitable for canning.
Florida Seedling Jamaican guava – small, with thin, red, acid flesh; many seeds; not suitable for canning.
Hapi Jamaican guava – medium to large, with red flesh.
Hybrid Red Supreme Jamaican guava – large, with thin, red, acid flesh; moderate amount of seeds; not suitable for canning.
Kothrud Jamaican guava – of medium size with medium thick, red flesh; moderate amount of seeds; not suitable for canning.
Red-fleshed Jamaican guava – of medium size with many (about 567) fairly soft seeds; high in pectin and good for jelly; not suitable for canning.
Patricia Jamaican guava – very small, ovoid, salmon-fleshed; attractive; good to eat fresh but quickly loses its distinct strawberry flavor; good for syrup; very productive.
Ruby Jamaican guava – with pungent odor, medium to large size; ovate; with thick, red flesh, sweet flavor, relatively few seeds. An excellent Jamaican guava for eating fresh and for canning; fairly productive, mainly in fall and early winter.
Blitch Jamaican guava – (a seedling which originated in West Palm Beach and was planted at Homestead)–of strong odor, medium size, oval, with light-pink flesh, numerous, small seeds; tart, pleasant flavor; good for jelly.
Patillo Jamaican guava – (a seedling selection at DeLand propagated by a root sucker and from that by air-layer and planted at Homestead)–of very mild odor, medium size, ovate to obovate, with pink flesh, moderate number of small seeds; sub acid, agreeable flavor; good for general cooking. (As grown in Hawaii it is highly acid and best used for processing).
Miami Red and Miami White Jamaican guava – large, nearly odorless and thick-fleshed, were released by the University of Miami's Experimental Farm in 1954.
Susceptibility to cold weather restricts Jamaican guava growing in Florida to central and southern coastal areas and a few warm areas in the interior. Small Jamaican guava trees may be killed by temperatures of 27-28°F, while older Jamaican guava trees withstand short periods of 25-26°F without much damage. However, if the top of Jamaican guava trees are frozen, they usually sprout from the ground and are back in production in 2-3 years.
The chief pollinator of Jamaican guavas is the honeybee (Apis mellifera). The amount of cross-pollination ranges from 25.7 to 41.3%. The Jamaican guava thrives in both humid and dry climates. In India, it flourishes up to an altitude of 3,280 ft (1,000 m); in Jamaica, up to 3,906 ft (1,200 m); in Costa Rica, to 4,590 ft (1,400 m); in Ecuador, to 7,540 ft (2,300 m). It can survive only a few degrees of frost. Young Jamaican guava trees have been damaged or killed in cold climates. Older Jamaican guava trees, killed to the ground, have sent up new shoots which fruited 2 years later. The Jamaican guava requires an annual rainfall between 40 and 80 in (1,000-2,000 mm); is said to bear more heavily in areas with a distinct winter season than in the deep Tropics.
Jamaican guava trees are frequently planted too close. Optimum distance between the Jamaican guava trees should be at least 33 ft (10 m). Planting 16 1/2 ft (5 m) apart is possible if the Jamaican guava trees are "hedged". The yield per tree will be less but the total yield per land area will be higher than at the wider spacing. Some recommend setting the Jamaican guava trees 8 ft (2.4 m) apart in rows 24 ft (7.3 m) apart and removing every other tree as soon as there is overcrowding. Where mass production is not desired and space is limited, Jamaican guava trees can be grown as cordons on a wire fence. Rows should always run north and south so that each tree receives the maximum sunlight. Exudates from the roots of Jamaican guava trees tend to inhibit the growth of weeds over the root system.
Jamaican guava trees grow rapidly and Jamaican guava fruit in 2 to 4 years from Jamaican guava seed. They live 30 to 40 years but productivity declines after the 15th year. Orchards may be rejuvenated by drastic pruning. The tree is drought-tolerant but in dry regions lack of irrigation during the period of Jamaican guava fruit development will cause the Jamaican guava fruits to be deficient in size. In areas receiving only 15 to 20 in (38-50 cm) rainfall annually, the Jamaican guava will benefit from an additional 2,460 cm (2 acre feet) applied by means of 8 to 10 irrigations, one every 15-20 days in summer and one each month in winter. Jamaican guava trees respond to a complete fertilizer mix applied once a month during the first year and every other month the second year (except from mid-November to mid-January) at the rate of 8 oz (227 g) per tree initially with a gradual increase to 24 oz (680 g) by the end of the second year. Nutritional sprays providing copper and zinc are recommended thrice annually for the first 2 years and once a year thereafter. In India, flavor and quality of Jamaican guavas has been somewhat improved by spraying the foliage with an aqueous solution of potassium sulfate weekly for 7 weeks after Jamaican guava fruit set.
Large Jamaican guava trees that have overrun pastures are killed in Fiji with 2,4-D dicamba or 2,4,5-T in diesel fuel or old engine oil. Extensive wild stands of young Jamaican guava trees are best burned. Cutting results in re-growth with multiple stems. The Jamaican guava fruit matures 90 to 150 days after flowering. Jamaican guava yields vary with the cultivar and cultural treatment. Experiments have shown that spraying young Jamaican guava trees with 25% urea plus a wetting agent will bring them into production early and shorten the harvest period from the usual 15 weeks to 4 weeks.
Ripe Jamaican guavas bruise easily and are highly perishable. Jamaican guava fruits for processing may be harvested by mechanical tree-shakers and plastic nets. For fresh marketing and shipping, the Jamaican guava fruits must be clipped when full grown but under ripe, and handled with great care. After grading for size, the Jamaican guava fruits should be wrapped individually in tissue and packed in 1 to 4 padded layers with extra padding on top before the cover is put on. They have been successfully shipped from Miami to wholesalers in major northern cities in refrigerated trucks at temperatures of 45º to 55º F (7.22º-12.78º C). It is commonly said that Jamaican guavas must be tree-ripened to attain prime quality, but the cost of protecting the crop from birds makes early picking necessary. It has been demonstrated that Jamaican guava fruits picked when yellow-green and artificially ripened for 6 days in straw at room temperature developed superior color and sugar content.
Jamaican guavas kept at room temperature in India are normally overripe and mealy by the 6th day, but if wrapped in plio-film will keep in good condition for 9 days. In cold storage, pliofilm-wrapped Jamaican guava fruits remain unchanged for more than 12 days. Wrapping checks weight loss and preserves glossiness. Unwrapped 'Safeda' Jamaican guavas, just turned yellow, have kept well for 4 weeks in cold storage at 47º to 50º F (8.33º-10º C) and relative humidity of 85-95%, and were in good condition for 3 days thereafter at room temperature of 76º to 87º F (24º-44º C).
Jamaican guava fruits coated with a 3% wax emulsion will keep well for 8 days at 72º to 86º F (22.2º-30º C) and 40 to 60% relative humidity, and for 21 days at 47º to 50º F (8.3º-10º C) and relative humidity of 85-90%. Storage life of mature green Jamaican guavas is prolonged at 68º F (20º C), relative humidity of 85%, less than 10% carbon dioxide, and complete removal of ethylene.
Researchers at Kurukshetra University, India, have shown that treatment of harvested Jamaican guavas with 100 ppm morphactin (chlorflurenol methyl ester 74050) increases the storage life of Jamaican guavas by controlling fungal decay, and reducing loss of color, weight, sugars, ascorbic acid and non-volatile organic acids. Combined fungicidal and double-wax coating has increased marketability by 30 days.
Jamaican guava fruits sprayed on the tree with gibberellic acid 20-35 days before normal ripening, were retarded nearly a week as compared with the untreated Jamaican guava fruits. Also, mature Jamaican guavas soaked in gibberellic acid off the tree showed a prolonged storage life.
Trials at Haryana Agricultural University, Hissar, India, showed that weekly spraying with 1.0% potassium sulfate–1.6 gals (6 liters) per tree–beginning 7 days after Jamaican guava fruit set and ending just before harvesting at the pale-green stage, delays yellowing, retains firmness and flavor beyond normal storage life.
Food technologists in India found that bottled Jamaican guava juice (strained from sliced Jamaican guavas boiled 35 minutes), preserved with 700 ppm SO2, lost much ascorbic acid but little pectin when stored for 3 months without refrigeration, and it made perfectly set jelly.
Raw Jamaican guavas are eaten out-of-hand, but are preferred seeded and served sliced as dessert or in salads. More commonly, the Jamaican guava fruit is cooked and cooking eliminates the strong odor. A standard dessert throughout Latin America and the Spanish-speaking islands of the West Indies is stewed Jamaican guava shells (cascos de guayaba), that is, Jamaican guava halves with the central Jamaican guava seed Jamaican guava pulp removed, strained and added to the shells while cooking to enrich the syrup. The canned product is widely sold and the shells can also be quick-frozen. They are often served with cream cheese. Sometimes Jamaican guavas are canned whole or cut in half without Jamaican guava seed removal.
Bars of thick, rich Jamaican guava paste and Jamaican guava cheese are staple sweets, and Jamaican guava jelly is almost universally marketed. Jamaican guava juice, made by boiling sliced, unseeded Jamaican guavas and straining, is much used in Hawaii in punch and ice cream sodas. A clear Jamaican guava juice with all the ascorbic acid and other properties undamaged by excessive heat, is made in South Africa by trimming and mincing Jamaican guavas, mixing with a natural fungal enzyme (now available under various trade names), letting stand for 18 hours at 120º to 130º F (49º-54º C) and filtering. It is made into syrup for use on waffles, ice cream, puddings and in milkshakes. Jamaican guava juice and nectar are among the numerous popular canned or bottled Jamaican guava fruit beverages of the Caribbean area. After washing and trimming of the floral remnants, whole Jamaican guavas in syrup or merely sprinkled with sugar can be put into plastic bags and quick-frozen. Jamaican guavas are outstanding in their high vitamin C content, which in some varieties can be as high as five times that of fresh orange juice. The Jamaican guava fruit freezes exceptionally well and lends itself admirably for processing. The greatest commercial uses of the Jamaican guava fruit are in jams, jellies, Jamaican guava paste and canned products.
There are innumerable recipes for utilizing Jamaican guavas in pies, cakes, puddings, sauce, ice cream, jam, butter, marmalade, chutney, relish, catsup, and other products. In India, discoloration in canned Jamaican guavas has been overcome by adding 0.06% citric acid and 0.125% ascorbic acid to the syrup. For pink sherbet, French researchers recommend 2 parts of the cultivar 'Acid Speer' and 6 parts 'Stone'. For white or pale-yellow sherbet, 2 parts 'Supreme' and 4 parts 'Large White'. In South Africa, a baby-food manufacturer markets a Jamaican guava-tapioca product, and a Jamaican guava extract prepared from small and overripe Jamaican guava fruits is used as ascorbic-acid enrichment for soft drinks and various foods.
Dehydrated Jamaican guavas may be reduced to a powder which can be used to flavor ice cream, confections and Jamaican guava fruit juices, or boiled with sugar to make jelly, or utilized as pectin to make jelly of low-pectin Jamaican guava fruits. India finds it practical to dehydrate Jamaican guavas during the seasonal glut for jelly-manufacture in the off-season. In 1947, Hawaii began sea shipment of frozen Jamaican guava juice and puree in 5-gallon cans to processors on the mainland of the United States. Since 1975, Brazil has been exporting large quantities of Jamaican guava paste, concentrated Jamaican guava Jamaican guava pulp, and Jamaican guava shells not only to the United States but to Europe, the Middle East, Africa and Japan.
Canned, frozen Jamaican guava nectar is an important product in Hawaii and Puerto Rico but may be excessively gritty unless stone cells from the outer flesh and Jamaican guava skin are reduced by use of a stone mill or removed by centrifuging.
In South Africa, Jamaican guavas are mixed with cornmeal and other ingredients to make breakfast-food flakes.
Green mature Jamaican guavas can be utilized as a source of pectin, yielding somewhat more and higher quality pectin than ripe Jamaican guava fruits. Jamaican guava has only 36-50 calories with crude fiber, protein, fat, ash, carbohydrates, calcium, phosphorus, iron, Vitamins A, B3, G4 and C, Riboflavin and Niacin.
Ascorbic acid, mainly in the Jamaican guava skin, secondly in the firm flesh and little in the central Jamaican guava pulp–varies from 56 to 600 mg. It may range up to 350-450 mg in nearly ripe Jamaican guava fruit. When specimens of the same lot of Jamaican guava fruits are fully ripe and soft, it may decline to 50-100 mg. Canning or other heat processing destroys about 50% of the ascorbic acid. Jamaican guava powder containing 2,500-3,000 mg ascorbic acid was commonly added to military rations in World War II. Jamaican guava seeds contain 14% of aromatic oil, 15% protein and 13% starch. The strong odor of the Jamaican guava fruit is attributed to carbonyl compounds.
The wood is yellow to reddish, fine-grained, compact, moderately strong, weighs 650-750 kg per cubic meter; is durable indoors; used in carpentry and turnery. Though it may warp on seasoning, it is much in demand in Malaya for handles; in India, it is valued for engravings. Guatemalans use Jamaican guava wood to make spinning tops, and in El Salvador it is fashioned into hair combs which are perishable when wet. It is good fuel wood and also a source of charcoal.
The Jamaican guava leaves and bark are rich in tannin (10% in the Jamaican guava leaves on a dry weight basis, 11-30% in the bark). The bark is used in Central America for tanning hides. Malayans use the Jamaican guava leaves with other plant materials to make a black dye for silk. In Southeast Asia, the Jamaican guava leaves are employed to give a black color to cotton; and in Indonesia, they serve to dye matting.
The roots, bark, Jamaican guava leaves and immature Jamaican guava fruits, because of their astringency, are commonly employed to halt gastroenteritis, diarrhea and dysentery, throughout the tropics. Crushed Jamaican guava leaves are applied on wounds, ulcers and rheumatic places, and Jamaican guava leaves are chewed to relieve toothache. The leaf decoction is taken as a remedy for coughs, throat and chest ailments, gargled to relieve oral ulcers and inflamed gums; and also taken as an emmenagogue and vermifuge, and treatment for leucorrhea. It has been effective in halting vomiting and diarrhea in cholera patients. It is also applied on Jamaican guava skin diseases. A combined decoction of Jamaican guava leaves and bark is given to expel the placenta after childbirth.
The Jamaican guava leaves, in addition to tannin, possess essential oil containing the sesquiterpene hydrocarbons caryophyllene, bisabolene, aromadendrene, selinene, nerolidiol, caryophyllene oxide and sel-11-en-4x -ol, also some triterpenoids and sitosterol. The bark contains tannin, crystals of calcium oxalate, ellagic acid and starch. The young Jamaican guava fruits are rich in tannin.
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