Sunday, October 5, 2008

Cascos de Guayaba y Refresco de Guayaba (Guava Shells and Guava Drink)

My grandmother gave me a small bag of Guavas when I went to go see her, her neighbor has a Guava tree and gave her some Guavas so she shared some with me and suggested to me to make some Guava Shells in syrup and with pulps and skins to make a sweet Guava drink.

Guava shells in syrup is a very loved Cuban dessert usually served with some thick pieces of cream cheese. The Guavas thin skin is removed and then the pulp is removed leaving behind a thick fleshy shell that is cooked in syrup, the remains are used to make the Guava drink. It does not matter what color of Guavas you use for this any color is fine.

My grandmothers sugary syrups for fruits and desserts are not made how many other's make it, she does not use white sugar, she makes a strong dark syrup using unrefined solid cane sugar that go by different names, in Cuba they call it "Raspadura" in Mexico they call it "Piloncillo" in Columbia they call it "Panela", in Peru they call it "Chacaca" (as odd as it sounds) and Filipinos call it "Panocha"... spanish speakers please keep your minds pure because I know "Panocha" is for many a slang term for the "female" genetalia area in Spanish or atleast for Mexicans :)

Using that type of sugar achieves a more deeply flavored syrup. If you cannot find it in your area feel free to use "Dark Brown Sugar" I buy the unrefined solid sugar cane in Mexican stores in which they are called "Piloncillo" and it's what I usually call it because I'm used to using it a lot in Mexican cuisine.

Ingredients for Guava Shells in syrup:

-2 pounds Guavas (doesn't matter what color)
-1-2 sticks of cinnamon
-1 cup water
-1 large piece of unrefined solid sugar cane (Piloncillo, Panela, Raspadura, etc.)
-1 teaspoon anise seeds (optional I didn't add it, my grandmother usually never does for this)

Directions for Guava Shells in Syrup:
(1)Peel guavas carefulle only the really outer skin using a knife carefully or a potato peeler. Now cut in half and remove just the middle area pulp and seeds with a spoon gently, leave as much of the shell as possible, leave some meat on it. Reserve the skins and pulp in a seperate bowl for later use.
(2)Bring water, cinnamon, piloncillo to a boil, cover on medium low heat until piloncillo completely dissolves. Bring back to a stronger boil on medium and stir and check until it becomes a light syrup not thick but not watery either. It should have some type of body. When you pick some with a large spoon and drizzle it back it should fall in a stream.

(3)Add Guava shells, when it comes to a boil and bubbles, remove from heat you are done. The Guava shells well get a stronger deeper color.

Directions for leftover pulp and skins:
(1)Put in a blender and blend well with water, dilute it will, strain it through a strainer to remove seeds. Add in a nice pitcher, dilute with more water until it has the consistency you likr similar to a rich juice and add sugar to taste.
(2)Chill in the fridge until ready to drink or drink immediately with some ice.


Marilyn said...

Hola Nathan
You are so lucky!!
living in southern Ca. I wish we can have guava trees up here.
Sabes, en Cuba, long ago, brown sugar was used because it was cheaper than white sugar.
Yo digo que la guayaba nos corre por la sangre.
Great dessert! Very Cuban!

Nathan said...


I rarely get a hold of fresh Guavas it's like a special treat to me.

Every time I get them it's always from friends and acquaintances when Guavas are in season. They are to expensive at stores sometimes and I rather not buy them at ridiculous prices.

You can find sometimes whole frozen guavas usually the yellow type with white flesh at the stores, those since they are to soggy from the frozen when purchased can be cooked whole in syrup.

And yes " la guayaba nos corre por la sangre" it's my favorite fruit and makes perfect desserts.

Oh and thanks that's interesting that brown sugar was cheaper back then in Cuba, well I guess me and my grandma went a step further and used the solid sugar cane that hasn't been ground to brown sugar ha ha, but it truly has such a wonderful deep-flavor, it's more caramel like and has a deep color I enjoy looking at (I know I'm such a dork)