Guavas are generally eaten raw, typically cut into quarters or eaten like an apple. The fresh fruit is often included in fruit salads or served with sugar and cream as a dessert. Guavas are also eaten with a pinch of salt and pepper and form the basis of some savoury sauces. As the fruit contains high levels of pectin, guavas are extensively used to make candies, preserves, jellies and jams. Guavas are also processed for juicing, canning and drying.
India is by far the biggest international producer of guavas and produces approximately 40% of global volumes. This is followed in volumes by China, Thailand, Pakistan, Mexico, Indonesia and Bangladesh.
Guavas were introduced to South Africa’s Western Cape Province from Madeira. The first commercial guava orchard was planted in Paarl in 1890, by Faan Retief. The largest guava production regions in South Africa are in the Western Cape, Mpumalanga, Limpopo Provinces.
In South Africa, guavas were traditionally produced mainly for the fruit canning industry but over time production for fresh consumption, juicing, jam and drying have become more prominent. The Western Cape has seen a renaissance in guava production, driven by the canning and juicing industries. Most of the guavas produced in the Western Cape are used for processing and about half of this production is exported in the form of purée. South African fresh guavas are not exported as a result of shelf life and phytosanitary challenges, but considerable volumes of processed guava products are exported annually.
Fresh guavas are readily available commercially throughout South Africa during the winter months between April and September.
Quality ripe guavas are harvested and transported to the cannery where they are sorted, skinned and canned. Canned guavas are used as a dessert, in baking and in salads and this commodity is a valuable export earner for South Africa.
Pulp and concentrate
Large quantities of guavas are harvested and pulped or made into concentrates for use in juices for domestic and international use.
Guava Juice and fruit blends
Pure guava juice is a popular choice with consumers. The strength of the guava flavour also makes it ideal for fruit blends with other fruit juices.
Dried and sugared fruit, dainty guava squares and rolls are popular treats.
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