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Last updated: May 29, 2023
What is guava, and how should we cut, prepare, and eat it? This guide explains everything we need to know about this unique fruit.
Guava is a popular fruit throughout the world. Despite this, many people have never experienced this fruit in its whole, fresh form. And even those that have, probably haven’t experienced the many varieties of guava that exist.
With this in mind, it’s no surprise many people don’t know how to cut and eat a guava fruit.
In this article, I’ll tell you everything you need to know about the different kinds of guava, how to pick a ripe one, and how to prepare and use it.
What Is a Guava Fruit
Before I explain how to cut, prepare, and eat a guava fruit, let’s first take a look at what this fruit is, where it comes from, and what it tastes like.
Much of the confusion surrounding guavas comes from the fact that this name is used to describe many different species of fruit trees belonging to the genus Psidium.
It is most commonly applied to the fruit of the Psidium guajava, which is often called apple guava. But it is also used for other closely related trees that produce fruits of different colors and sizes.
All guavas are native to the region between Mexico and northern South America. They have been harvested by humans for thousands of years.
Today, they are cultivated in most subtropical and tropical regions of the world, including the southern US, Hawaii, Africa, South Asia, Australia, and southern Europe.
Types of Guava
Most fruits we enjoy come in a variety of types due to the species being selectively bred into different cultivators.
Guava is unique in that most of the variety seen with this fruit is due to the sheer number of species in this genus that are cultivated.
Some of the most popular guava species include:
- Apple Guava:
The quintessential guava. This large fruit has light green skin, pink flesh, and the perfect delicate strawberry-pear guava flavor.
- Vietnamese Guava:
These large fruits range from perfectly pear-shaped to round. They are light green with white flesh and are often grown for commercial guava juice production.
- Strawberry Guava:
These tiny guavas have deep red skin with translucent flesh. They taste like strawberries and range in size from olive to plum.
- Red Indian Guava:
These tiny guavas look a lot like apple guavas with green skin and pink flesh. But they are much smaller, juicier, and have a tarter flavor.
- Mexican Cream Guava:
These lemon-sized yellow guavas range from round to oblong in shape. Their flesh is whitish-yellow and amazingly smooth and creamy with an aromatic, intensely sweet flavor.
- Pineapple Guava:
This oblong green guava has dense yellow-white flesh and few seeds. It is aromatic and sweet, tasting somewhat like pineapple with hints of strawberry. It is also known as feijoa.
- Yellow Cherry Guava:
These tiny guavas are about the size of a cherry and have dull to bright yellow skin. They’re yellowish-white on the inside, incredibly sweet, and very juicy.
- Detwiler Guava:
This variety is more common than many others. It is dull green with yellow-white flesh and a mildly sweet flavor.
- Thai Maroon Guava:
These large guavas are deep red, almost purple, in color. The flesh inside is lighter pink than you might expect, and the flavor is similarly subdued but still pleasantly sweet.
Skin and Flesh
Apple guavas have light green skin that is rough like a lime but much thinner. The flash inside is light pink and delicate, with dozens of small tan seeds.
This type of guava is about the size of a softball and round. Other species of guava can be as small as an olive. They range in shape from round to oval and in flavor from tart to delicately sweet.
Depending on the species, the skin will be light green, yellow, or red. The flesh inside can be pink like an apple guava, white, or yellow.
The common guava fruit has a flavor that is best described as sweet, fragrant, and somewhere between a pear, strawberry, and papaya.
The riper the fruit, the sweeter it tends to be. Its texture can range from slightly crunchy, like an apple, to very soft, almost like a ripe kiwi.
The flesh, seeds, and skin of all species of guava are edible. The skin of ripe fruit is very thin but not as easy to get through as the skin of an apple.
The seeds are crunchy but not terribly hard, though they can have a bitter aftertaste. Many people prefer to eat only the flesh of the guava, while others will happily bite straight into the fruit and eat the entire thing.
Your preferences and how you intend to use your guava will determine how you want to cut and prepare it.
Guava is rich in dietary fiber and Vitamin C, containing four times the Vitamin C of an orange. It also provides a good amount of Vitamin A and other nutrients like potassium, magnesium, and phosphorus (source).
Interestingly, the guava tree is as attractive and valuable as the fruit it produces. Its leaves have been used in traditional medicine, and the wood can be used in cooking for smoking meats.
Guava is also known for its fragrant smell. This aroma is so distinct that it’s a common descriptor in the perfume industry; something may be said to smell “guava-like”.
Read my guide to Hawaiian fruits and Brazilian fruits for more of these unique treats that are popular in those countries.
Cutting and Eating Guava
If you plan to eat your guava fresh, you can absolutely just bite into it as you would an apple or pear. The seeds are edible (and hard to avoid), and you don’t need to worry about a hard core inside.
But if you prefer not to eat certain parts of the fruit, or if you like to chop up a guava fruit, you have some other options.
Steps to cut and eat guava:
- Choose a ripe guava that is soft to the touch, similar to a ripe avocado.
- Rinse the fruit under cold water to remove any dirt on the skin.
- Use a sharp knife and cut the guava in half horizontally.
- If you don’t want to eat the seeds, scoop them out with a spoon. Guava seeds are edible, but some people find them too hard.
- Slice the halves into smaller pieces, just like how you would slice an apple or a pear. If you removed the seeds, you can slice the remaining flesh as desired.
- If you don’t want to eat the skin (some people find it too bitter), peel the skin off the slices before eating.
- Eat the pieces directly or place them in a bowl to mix with other ingredients or add to your favorite recipe.
If preparing your guava to use in a sauce, follow the steps above, but scoop all of the flesh out of the halves and put it in the pot.
Cooking will reduce the delicate flesh to a liquid, at which point you can easily strain out the seeds.
Now that you know how to cut and eat guava, here are a few tips for working with and putting this exotic fruit to use.
When is a Guava Ripe
Most species of guava start out lime green and ripen to light green, yellow, or red.
In addition to color, your best bet for choosing ripe guava is to give it a little squeeze. The flesh should give slightly under pressure but not be mushy.
Hard guavas are not yet ready to eat. If you cut into them too soon, the flavor will be tart or non-existent, depending on the species. Instead, exercise a little patience and let your guava ripen up on the counter for a few days.
How to Store Guavas
A guava fruit can be stored on the counter or in the fridge.
Store any guava you want to ripen up on the counter in a warm location. Be sure to eat them promptly once they soften up.
Ripe guavas can be placed in the fridge to slow the ripening process and help them last longer before getting overripe. When placed in the crisper drawer, they can last up to three weeks.
You can also puree guava and freeze it in ice cube trays for extended storage or to use in your morning smoothies.
Guava Uses and Recipe Ideas
Guava is frequently enjoyed raw. It can be eaten straight or sliced up and enjoyed slowly. But the unique flavor of this fruit lends itself to many uses beyond a simple fresh snack.
The pretty pink flesh of most varieties and mild flavor make guava a great choice for mixing into yogurt, smoothies, ice cream, and other sweet treats.
It has a naturally high pectin content which also makes it a great ingredient to include in homemade jams, jellies, and marmalades.
One common recipe to make with guava is goiabada, a conserve or paste made of red guavas and sugar. This staple is mostly found throughout the Portuguese-speaking countries of the world, such as Brazil.
The unique taste of guava also pairs exceptionally well with savory flavors. In some countries, the raw fruit is enjoyed with salt and other spices. In other places, it is used in marinades and sauces.
Some red species can even be used in place of tomatoes to give recipes a bold flavor without the acidity. Guava is also often used commercially to make juice and candies, and to flavor sodas and cocktails.