The inspiration was a bottle of stunningly smooth, appetizingly rust-orange hued jam from La Maison du Chocolat. I was really impressed by the quality of that particular guava jam, presumably made from African guavas (possibly from a former French colony). My sister sent a bottle of the same jam in a subsequent balikbayan box shipment to Manila, and we have enjoyed it immensely, and have always wondered about the color, since the ingredients only list “guava, sugar and pectin”. No food coloring. I had filed this “challenge” somewhere back in my brain and last weekend at the market, I noticed an abundance of ripening native guavas, many of them of the pink variety. I bought 1.7 kilos of guavas for PHP100 and decided to make some jam…
The pink guavas were stunning and pungent. It’s hard to get a whole batch of native guavas that are almost all this salmon pink shade. Often, many of the fruit have yellowish or creamish colored pulp, that reduces the intensity of the final jam. I suspected that if you separate and use only the pink guavas, it should result in a more intensely colored jam…
I have described the whole recipe for guava jam in a previous post, here. And if you are curious, I also have a recipe for guava jelly, here. Essentially, I took off the tops and ends of each fruit, removing any obviously bruised areas and cut the fruit in half. Then I placed the guavas in a heavy pot, added water to cover and brought this to a boil and let it boil for five minutes until the guavas were soft. I drained this, reserving say a cup of the guava water and set that aside. Next, I put the softened guavas through a simple food mill to extract the seeds and grind the pulp to a smoother yet still grainy texture. I suppose one could blitz this further in a food processor if you want it even smoother, though I prefer the textural quality of just using a food mill.
Then I added sugar and the juice of 1.5 lemons and simmered until it achieved a nice dark amber color and in jam making terms, reached the point of “setting” properly. Next, the jam was bottled and put in a boiling hot water bath to sterilize it.
Stacked up against the jar of La Maison du Chocolate guava jam, our version was still a little lighter, but it possessed many of the flavor and aroma qualities of the former. And after a few days, the newly bottled jam has started to darken just a bit, and I suspect in month or two, it will be a fairly close match… If you happen by a market this weekend, keep your eyes out for the native guavas, it’s an excellent time to cook up a batch of guava jam or jelly. Pair the jam with a slice of salty manchego on a cracker and you will be hooked. Yes, the guava jam is an excellent substitute for the membrillo or quince paste that is typically served with manchego.
P.S. The La Maison Jam was probably $9-12 retail at their shop. The homemade jam, including the bottle and excluding my labor and that of the crew, was roughly $1.25 per bottle. :)