Guilty as charged!

There’s a guava tree in my garden. I’m not a fan. The fruit is loaded with disagreeable little seeds. On the way to the compost bin I glanced up at its branches bending under the weight of ripe abundance and felt judged. In these strange times, why wasn’t I utilizing a natural source of nutrition that required nothing more than the energy to pluck it?

So pluck I did, out of guilt, then probed the internet for a recipe that would turn it into something edible. And there it was. Guava cheese.

In regard to cheese, I’m a solid thumbs down on Velveeta and varieties that fail the ‘smell’ test. Otherwise I’ll try anything. Guava cheese piqued my curiosity.

The instructions called for two ingredients, guava pulp and sugar, in almost equal amounts.

I wavered. Some people are sweets addicts. Some prefer salty treats. I’m the latter. But in the dark recesses of my refrigerator were two atrophying lumps of palm sugar left over from a brunch buffet (a year ago?) when it had been sprinkled atop banana fritters. Getting rid of the sugar while assuaging my guilt over the garden guavas had the intriguing potential of making a silk purse out of a sow’s ear.

The entire process took an hour – that’s when I decided to quit stirring. But when I poured the hot sticky mess into a buttered pan to harden I had doubts. At 93% humidity, a temperature hovering upwards of 85 degrees (29.4 Celsius) and a 90% chance of rain in Ubud, the so-called cheese was a long way from solid with little hope of achieving the desired outcome.

Six hours later its consistency hadn’t changed. It seemed I’d made a batch of guava paste. I invited my neighbor for tea to sample my efforts.

We’re in isolation, me upstairs, her downstairs. We haven’t been off the property for many days. In a world where people eye each other suspiciously and pass giving wide berth, it’s a comfort having someone to interact with semi-normally knowing that neither of us carries the dreaded virus.

She accepted my invitation.

At the appointed time, Kaye arrived and seated herself at the table. “So this is guava cheese?” she said, poking suspiciously at the uncheese-like substance. “It looked different in the pictures you showed me. Like fudge – you could pick it up and…”

What could I say? She was right. “Yes, yes. Maybe think of it as guava butter and just taste it.” She spread a dollop on a cracker and took a tentative bite.

“What do you think?” I asked. She chewed thoughtfully and swallowed.

“Hmmm.”

Her hmmms can mean anything, hmmm good, hmmm bad, hmmm-I-don’t-want-to-disappoint-you-but…

“Well?”

A look of surprise crossed her face. “It’s really quite good, isn’t it?” she said.

We decided it resembled cranberry sauce and would be a tasty accompaniment to turkey – or spread on top of cheesecake – or with real cheese and crackers. Before she left we’d polished off the lot.

Even though my failed guava cheese was a hit, I don’t think I’ll be wasting my energy making it again anytime soon.

The only other edible growth in the garden is a chili plant.

There’s no guesswork involved with those little firecrackers. What you see is what you get, hot, hotter, and hottest in direct proportion to the amount added, no blending, straining or endless stirring required.

I’ll leave guavas to birds and squirrels. Going forward, chilies will be my guilt-assuaging choice.

7 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. shanemac
    Apr 06, 2020 @ 08:09:42

    I love the taste of guava. But all the seeds are too much of a challenge for me. Even in a mouli food mill they aren’t easy to strain. If I had been there for the taste testing I’d have had far more than my share.

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    • writingforselfdiscovery
      Apr 06, 2020 @ 14:54:18

      Shane…I had to google Mouli Food Mill – didn’t have a clue. When the pictures came up I realized it’s the same as what we called a Foley Food Mill in the States – now they’re referred to as VINTAGE Foley Food Mills. That says it all, doesn’t it???!!!

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  2. stevecastley
    Apr 06, 2020 @ 08:18:17

    What a fun piece. Thanks for sharing this. I really enjoyed it. Guava juice is delicious, but hard work. Hugs in isolation. Steve

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  3. Anonymous
    Apr 06, 2020 @ 11:48:31

    I too am a salt vs sweet woman (hmmmm) and might not have been persuaded to even taste it. Good for you guys! Glad you have a neighbor. I’ve a cat….she does just fine for the interim. 😀

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    • writingforselfdiscovery
      Apr 06, 2020 @ 14:47:09

      The salty cracker under the sweet guava butter was a pretty decent combination. You’re glad I have a neighbor – I’m glad you have your cat! Some other living-breathing entity in our sphere is a really good thing! Take care!

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  4. judybali
    Apr 06, 2020 @ 13:54:07

    Ha ha Sherry We are all experimenting in the kitchen. I am growing mushrooms in my garage and making water kefir as well. Also making my own hand sanitiser. My dog is getting more walks and love and my cat more appreciation. I seem to be busy which is good. Anyway much love to you. It’s easier here Re groceries. You can order most things online if ur a senior and they deliver. Then u just have to figure out the best way to disinfect the shopping. This new normal is a mind bender. Looking forward to reading your next missive. Would be a great time to get your memoir published as lots of people have time to read much more. Xx

    Sent from my iPhone

    >

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    • writingforselfdiscovery
      Apr 06, 2020 @ 14:44:53

      Growing mushrooms in the garage! That’s one I wouldn’t have thought of. I don’t imagine you plant mushroom seeds…how do you start a mushroom farm??? And you mentioned getting my memoir published…have you been talking to Steve Castley? Just this morning he called and as we were talking he said the exact same thing! He’s working with Publishizer and has nothing but good things to say. So glad you’re staying busy and getting lots of love from your pets!

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