Learning how to make homemade guava paste is a great way to preserve that tropical, sweet fruit flavor in a long-lasting, versatile way. Fresh guava and simple ingredients combine to make a delicious, flavorful pantry staple.
You may have noticed my love of tropical fruit if you’ve ever browsed through my recipes. From star fruit to dragon fruit and mangoes, I just love the unique flavors. A recent discovery of mine is guava. When I was living abroad I was able to try fresh guava for the first time and it was amazing! Ever since I’ve been eating and cooking it often.
As much as I love the fresh fruit however, what I’ve come to discover is that a lot of cooking is actually done with guava paste. It’s an incredibly versatile ingredient that is basically made from guava puree cooked down with sugar to preserve it.
It lasts a long time and is easy to add to a huge number of recipes. Learning how to make it was essential for my home kitchen, and I’m sharing that with you now.
When it comes to making your own paste, the ingredient list is actually surprisingly simple. It takes just these basics:
- Fresh Guava – 5 pounds of ripe fruit. Ripe ones will be fragrant and be slightly tender when gently squeezed.
- Fresh Lemon – You want the zest and juice from 1 or 2 large lemons.
- Sugar – For purest flavor use white sugar. You’ll need 5 cups total.
Unless you live somewhere tropical, your selection of fresh guavas may be limited. Just choose the best ones you can get. But, if you have a choice, the sweet red or pink fleshed ones are ideal for making paste.
Making guava paste is almost the same as making guava jam, with a few key differences in cooking times and storage.
First the fruit needs to be cooked into a seedless puree. The easiest way to do that is combining ½ inch chunks of fruit with the water and cooking for about 40 minutes until tender.
Then pour the liquid and soft fruit through a food mill to separate the seeds and puree. Discard the seeds and return the puree to the pot with the lemon juice and half the zest. Bring it to a boil then begin adding one cup of sugar at a time, stirring constantly until it’s all incorporated.
Keep cooking it for another 35 to 40 minutes. It’s very important to keep stirring so you can prevent it from scorching or sticking. When it’s reduced and thickened enough to scrape a line across the bottom of the pot with your spoon and doesn’t immediately fill in, it’s done.
Pour the paste into a parchment lined pan and let it cool completely. Then turn it out and cut it into portion sizes you like. Wrap each piece in parchment paper and store them in an airtight container for up to 3 months.
How to Use it
There are so many ways to use the paste once it’s made that I’m confident you’ll use up the batch in no time!
Just a quick search will show you that a huge majority of guava recipes actually call for the paste. It’s used as a simple spread with cheese and is delicious that way, but it’s also great baked into pastries, cookies, and cakes. One famous one is called guava pastelitos which I definitely recommend you check out.
It can also be used in savory preparations too. Glaze grilled meats, make it into dressings for roasted vegetables, or add it to a grilled cheese for a sweet and salty sandwich. I especially recommend you to try the mind blowing guava BBQ sauce.
Experimenting with my homemade guava paste is definitely always fun for me, and the results always have that signature sweet tropical flavor that we love. Enjoy using your freshly made paste, and don’t forget to check out these other tropical fruit recipes too.
- Star Fruit Salad with Arugula, Avocado, and Feta
- Passion Fruit and Mango Mousse
- Healthy Mango Crepes with Maple Lime Ricotta Filling
Homemade Guava Paste (How to Make and Use it)
- 5 lb. (2.3kg) fresh guavas (it’s best to used pink-fleshed fruit)
- 2 cups water
- 1 large lemon , juiced and zested
- 5 cups sugar
- Rinse and drain the guavas and trim off their ends. Cut into large chunks and transfer to a pot filled with water. Bring to a boil, and simmer 30-40 minutes, stirring frequently. Guavas should be so tender that they break when pressed against the side of the pot.
- Transfer the mixture into a blender that can process hot liquids or let cool and blend. Strain through a sieve discarding the seeds. You should get about 8 cups of guava puree.
- Transfer the puree back to the pot. Add the lemon juice and zest. Bring to a boil and add the sugar in batches, 1 cup at a time. Cook, stirring constantly, for about 35-40 minutes, until the puree holds a line drawn in the bottom of the pot with your spoon.
- Transfer the guava mixture to a parchment-lined pan. Let cool overnight in the fridge. Turn it out, cut into portions and enjoy!
- Store wrapped in parchment paper in an airtight container in the fridge. It will keep for up to 3 months.
- If you prefer to make a smaller batch of paste, this recipe halves easily.
- Adapted from “Saving the Season” by Kevin West.