My apologies if you stumble across this blog in hopes to find a recipe for a Strawberry Guava Pie. This is about the plant with that name, not two different ingredients.
It is a well known fact that the Southeast, at least my little neck of the woods, has gotten it's fair amount of rain....and then some!! In the past two weeks I have recorded 13+ inches of rain in my yard. This would be very welcomed news if my part of the neighborhood block was not at the bottom of the bowl. ALL the rain water collects out in back. And of course it is right in front of my exotic tropical fruit collection. The weeds, mud and water had gotten so bad back there I avoided it like the plaque. Well, I had had enough, so I took my weedeater and attempted to wade through the La Brea Tar Pits. The mud and water and three foot weeds were just a flying, I am sure had anybody been around, it would be all over Youtube right now. Anyway, while I was back there, I noticed my Strawberry Guava (Psidium cattleianum) was finally starting to ripen. The fruits are smaller this year, I guess I should have thinned them a little.....it sure wasn't from lack of water!!
It is a fairly slow growing tree that will reach heights of 6-14 feet high. It has slender, smooth, brown bark on the stems and branches The leaves are evergreen glossy, and somewhat leathery.
The flavor of the fruit is slightly acid and said to have a Strawberry like taste. Personally I don't taste it, though I do enjoy the flavor of the fruit.
The Strawberry Guava is believed to be native to the lowlands of eastern Brazil, especially near the coast. It is cultivated to a limited extent in other areas of South America and Central America and in the West Indies, Bermuda, the Bahamas, southern and central Florida and southern California.
It propagates very easily from seed. As a matter of fact, if you have any friends from Hawaii, DON'T mention that you grow this plant. It is the worst pest in Hawaii's rain forests. The feral pigs that inhabit the islands love the fruit. The seeds pass through their digestive tracts unharmed and are often deposited in soil disturbed by the pigs. Dense wild plantings can suppress growth and establishment of native species, and support high populations of crop damaging fruit flies. It is on Hawaii's invasive species list. It is also considered a weed tree on Norfolk Island and has escaped into the wild on Jamaica.
The Strawberry Guava is hardier than the common Guava (Psidium guajava) another of it's distant relatives, and can survive temperatures as low as 22 degrees. It can succeed wherever Citrus is grown without any problem.
This plant will grow in soils that would not support any other fruit tree. It likes lots of water, especially when fruiting, but it is also very drought tolerant.
It is a long lived tree. In 1884, a commercial planting of about 3,000 trees was established at La Mesa, California, it was still producing 50 years later. No word on if it still producing today.
The Strawberry Guava is usually reported as disease and pest free. The Caribbean fruit fly attacks the fruits in southern Florida and wherever else this pest exists. In India, birds compete with humans for the ripe fruits. The fruit is very perishable and will only last 3-4 days once picked, at room temperature.
You can eat the fruit right off the tree. It is made into tart fillings, Jams, Jellies, Sherbet and in some places made into a punch.
There is a Yellow version that I don't have yet. I found this picture online of what that looks like.
I hope to be able to get one soon.
I have a Pineapple Guava (Feijoa sellowiana), but this again is another whole different plant, distantly related, but still different.
And yes, I actually do have a regular Guava also. Maybe one day, I will be able to make a mixed Guava fruit cocktail.