In LA I was always a plant scavenger, a climber of fences, and scaler of walls. I loved going after the stuff people overlooked, the stuff people ignored, the stuff nobody wanted. The one thing that has always driven me crazy is driving /walking past trees and bushes with edibles on them that nobody is using. Virginia Woolf wanted a room of one's own. I always dreamed of a tree of ones own.
Here in Sonoma I often see bushes and trees on people's property with neglected fruit. When I can, I glean off the side of the road. I know where the "free" trees and bushes are and I try to take advantage of them. In our old house here we were on top of a hill, overlooking a vineyard. It was impossible to grow anything except herbs, as any other attempts at agriculture was just setting out a free salad bar for assorted critters. So when we bought our new house in town, one of the chief goals was to be able to grow a lot of our own fruit and vegetables. Our house is on just under a quarter of an acre, pretty good space for a place right in town, within walking distance to The Plaza. It has a large garden and we have xeriscaped both the front and back, removing the lawns and putting in 7 large raised beds and fruit trees in the rear of the house. In the front we have drought-tolerant plants and the house came with a number of large established trees, one of which is a large pineapple guava .
If you've never had pineapple guava, it tastes a bit like pineapple crossed with kiwi, but yet not. It's a slightly tart, acidic yet sweet taste. It's hard to describe so I'll just call it distinctively tropical. Pretty dang refreshing on a hot Sonoma afternoon.
When we first moved in, one of the neighbors glanced at the big tree said, "oh yeah, you're gonna get a lotta fruit off that thing". He wasn't kidding. Back in LA we had a pineapple guava tree in a planter in the back yard in Santa Monica which occasionally gave me a few measly pieces of fruit. This thing we've got is more like a pineapple guava machine. There is no way I'm keeping up with it, but I'm trying.
I've been actively seeking out stuff to do with all this fruit. Chutney is one possibility. Another is Pineapple Guava Cheese, a form of membrillo. I usually buy the stuff at Whole Foods, but now I'm determined to make my own. I've been collecting all sorts of guava recipes, but as a starter I thought I'd begin with something really simple, sorbet. So simple that one doesn't even need an ice cream machine to make it, just a Pyrex dish and a food processor.
Pineapple Guava Sorbet
Here's What You Need:
2 cups pineapple guava pulp.
2 Tbs sugar
Juice of 1 lemon
Here's What to Do:
Cut the pineapple guavas in half and scoop out the meat.
You'll need 2 cups worth.
Put the guava meat into a food processor.
Add a Tablespoon of Lemon juice. This keeps the guava fruit from oxidizing too much.
Add in 2 Tbs of sugar and whiz it up.
Check the taste. If you feel you need to add more sugar or a tad more lemon juice do so.This all depends on the sweetness of your guava fruit. You control the flavor.
Pour the guava puree through a sieve and into a bowl to remove all the little seeds.
Pour the strained guava puree into a Pyrex dish.
Pop it into the freezer.
Stir it with a fork every 30 minutes or so, or you can just leave it. When you're ready to eat it, put the frozen guava puree into a food processor and whirl it up til it's creamy. I shoveled mine into hollowed out guava skins and served them that way.
There it is, Pineapple Guava Sorbet! Fast and easy and no need for an ice cream machine. If you don't have any pineapple guavas, you can do this with almost any fresh fruit, and if you don't have any fresh fruit, try it with frozen fruit. Just drop the frozen fruit into a food processor swirl up and enjoy. I have barely made a dent in what's coming off this tree, so coming up I attempt to make my own Guava Cheese, also finally conquer the task of setting yogurt in clay pots. Follow along on Twitter at @kathygori