Psidium guajava, often called “tropical guava” or simply “guava,” has become naturalized in tropical and subtropical regions throughout the world. Though its place of origin is uncertain, scientists believe guava comes from an area extending from southern Mexico into Central America. Guava was first introduced to Hawaii in the early 1800s and was later brought to Florida in 1847. By 1886, the fruit had become common across more than half of the Sunshine State.
Fruit grows on single or multitrunked trees that can reach up to 20 feet in height. Similar in size to apples and pears, guava fruit is round or oval-shaped with green, yellow, or slightly pink skin. Fruit contains small, hard seeds and has a fragrant, flowery aroma and bold flavor, ranging from sweet to slightly tart. Depending on variety, guava flesh is either soft or slightly crunchy when ripe and may be creamy white to dark pink in color. When fully ripe, its thin skin is edible.
Although the majority of guava fruit is consumed fresh, it can also be processed into juice, puree, jam, dried fruit, canned slices in syrup, ice cream, and nutrient powders. It is a popular ingredient in Mexican, Indian, and Southeast Asian dishes. The taste is often compared to pineapple, papaya, banana, or lemon.
References: Agricultural Marketing Resource Center, University of Florida/IFAS Extension, Purdue University.