Extra Helpings: Guava Paste

5 years ago
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Nancy asks: You used guava paste in a recipe the other day and I had no idea what you were talking about. What is it and where do I find it?

Great question. Sometimes when we are so familiar with something, we lose sight of the fact that this just may be someone else’s first trip to the rodeo.

Probably because I'm Latina, I grew up eating guava, the round tropical fruit that is yellowish to deep red with sweet reddish or pinkish flesh. Guava has a deeply floral aroma and is heavenly sweet and flavorful.

Guava paste, on the other hand, is a purée of cooked guava (of course) sugar and (occasionally) pectin, which gives it a very thick texture. It is often so thick you have to slice it!

It is wildly popular in Latin and South America, the Caribbean and Spain and is used with and in everything: as a spread, as a glaze for meat, as filling for tamales, as a topping for pancakes… you get the picture.

I like pairing guava paste with milder cheeses, like manchego, brie or feta. Of course, it also goes well with cream cheese and Mexican cheeses like cotija and queso fresco.

Guava's popularity is growing, so more and more you can it  in the ethnic section of the bigger supermarkets. You can always find it at Mexican or Latin American grocery stores. Sometimes it is labeled guayaba.

Nancy’s question got me thinking: it’s easy to be intimidated by food and what you think you don’t know.

Don’t be! Ask! After all… it’s only food!  

 

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