I grew up drinking guava nectar, my first real introduction being rare, but exciting trips to a Puerto Rican corner store with my mother. She would spoil me with tiny bananas, coconut candies and other goodies not found in our neighborhood stores. Opening up a can of Goya drinks, be them mango, pera (pear), or guyaba (guava) would evoke a keen sense of exotica in my mind. I knew instinctively at a young age that these flavors flourished in a place my mother loved, a place I was somehow connected to.
To this day, when I smell these fruits, I’m instantly taken back to the days spent excitedly waiting to see my abuelo (grandfather) in the barrio (neighborhood) where he made sure we had whatever Puerto Rican delicacies we craved; and to the moments my abuela (grandmother) stepped out of the plane as she arrived from San Juan, with piles of pasteles (savory meat tamales wrapped in banana leaves) and dulce de guyaba (guava candy) para los niños (for the kids).
I am fortunate enough, alhamdullilah (thank God), to live in a city like Chicago where I can find just about any Caribbean fruit and product I crave from my childhood. Recently, I found the guava pictured here. I have to admit- I bought them simply because of the nostalgia that the smell stirred inside of me. I didn’t know what I wanted to do with them, other than embrace the memories of my childhood and some of the people I love the most.
When you can find it ripe, guava should have a lovely, fresh, almost flowery scent. Just be sure to strain the drink with a fine sieve or you may be crunching on the seeds as you drink.
I did end up making this delicious drink, a recipe I think you’ll find refreshing and flavorful. What foods evoke your childhood memories?
1 medium grapefruit
2 small yellow guavas
¼ cup orange juice
1 tsp. powdered sugar
1/8 cup water
Remove all the outer tough skin from the grapefruit and the white skin underneath it. Remove the seeds, too, otherwise the drink will be very bitter.
Remove the stem from the guava and wash the outer part very well. There is no need to remove the skins.
Add all the ingredients to a blender and combine on high speed for about 30 seconds- 1 minute. (To make this drink cold, add some ice before blending)
Pour the drink through a fine sieve or strainer before drinking in order to remove the hard seeds of the guava.