Make Your Own: Masala Pickled Guavas

PHOTOS BY RYAN BENOIT

It is a truth universally acknowledged that when you spend most of the year anxiously awaiting a crop from your garden, you will eventually be up to your eyebrows with that crop, scrambling for ways to eat it all. For some of our friends, it’s tomatoes in the summer. For us, it’s the egg-shaped pineapple guavas produced every fall by the feijoa tree which canopies the north end of our backyard.

Pickled-guava-feijoa-sellowiana-ryanbenoitphoto-thehorticult-RMB_8714

Pickled-guava-feijoa-sellowiana-ryanbenoitphoto-thehorticult-RMB_8729

Our tree is at least 60 years old. Its guavas remain green on the outside and mostly pale yellow on the inside when ripe. (Contrast that with the pink centers of its flashier cousins.) Feijoa flesh has a clean, sweet-ish taste akin to a citrusy pear, and its edible skin is tangy and intensely aromatic.

Last year we got boozy with our bounty. This year — after bringing in bags of them to our offices, slicing them onto salads, gnawing on them for breakfast, and bringing the fruits as hostess offerings — we decided to pickle what was left of our feijoas.

RB was the one who proposed it. When C was all, “…,” he reminded her of this:

Although he brought home a couple pounds of pickling salt after researching various pickling methods, we decided to forego salt-brining method in favor of quick-pickling. After polling friends and coworkers, we found this exciting recipe on Belle Jar Canning for making spicy pickled nectarines.

Photo (19)

We were intrigued by the recipe’s use of pickle masala, a mix of spices (e.g. split mustard, split fenugreek, chili powder, asafetida) used in Indian cuisine. We wagered that the masala would be the perfectly scorching counterbalance to our guavas’ tangy rind and sweet flesh. Swimming together in a jar, this fruit (native to Brazil) and the spices would also be a nod to C’s South American and South Asian heritage.

We stored our pickled feijoa in the fridge for a week and a half before sampling it — and the results were delicious.

Here’s the recipe, adapted from Belle Jar Canning:

Pickled-guava-feijoa-sellowiana-ryanbenoitphoto-thehorticult-RMB_9630

Masala-Spiced Pickled Guavas

Makes about 3 pints

– 12-15 crisp, barely ripe pineapple guavas (also known as feijoa)

– 3 tablespoons of pickle masala (available at Indian grocery stores)

– kosher salt (if masala is unsalted)

– ½ cup sugar

– 1 ¾ cups white wine vinegar

– ¾ cups water

Pickled-guava-feijoa-sellowiana-ryanbenoitphoto-thehorticult-RMB_9634

Pickled-guava-feijoa-sellowiana-ryanbenoitphoto-thehorticult-RMB_9635

Pickled-guava-feijoa-sellowiana-ryanbenoitphoto-thehorticult-RMB_9640

Combine vinegar, water and sugar in a small saucepan, bring to a boil, reduce and simmer for 20 minutes uncovered. Cut guavas into quarter slices and pack into sterilized jars within an inch of the top.

Add masala spice to jars, about 1 tablespoon per 16 ounces. (The jar shown here is 26 ounces.) If masala is unsalted, add a pinch of salt to each jar.

Pour hot pickling syrup over guavas, leaving a half-inch of head space at the top of the jar. Gently tap jars to remove any air bubbles trapped between the guava slices.

Wipe rims and apply lids and rings. If preserving for shelf stability, process the jars by carefully lowering them into a boiling water bath for 15 minutes.

Otherwise, wash jars once cool, and store in the fridge. (We went this route.)

It’s always snack time somewhere, right?

—TH

Pickled-guava-feijoa-sellowiana-ryanbenoitphoto-thehorticult-RMB_9654

pickled-guava-thehorticult-RMB_0121-2

  • Tommy Ogren

    Okay, I’m going to have to give this one a try! Pineapple guavas are easily one of my very favorite fruits. My trees are all real late this year….the less water they get, the slower the fruit is to ripen. But I ought to have a crop in a month or so, and then, oh yeah, I’m going to try these pickled guavas…..they sound really good, wish I could try some right now!

    • Tommy, we’re excited about your impending harvest! And highly recommend giving the pickled guavas a whirl. They were a crowdpleaser during Monday Night Football…

      • Tommy Ogren

        I’ve been picking out the tiny seeds in the guavas and growing them from seed, for several decades + now. As a result I’ve got some that are early, late, thin-skinned, even one tree that makes fruit the size of an avocado. I encourage all hard core gardeners to pick the biggest, sweetest, most perfect guava on the tree, pick out the seeds and plant them in a bit of potting soil. Takes about 20-30 days to germinate, and they grow on slowly, but steady.
        Am looking forward to eating some of these pickled guavas, fo’ sure!

        • Tommy, fantastic advice, thank you! We’re so intrigued by those avocado-size guavas…

  • Jacki

    This recipe is wonderful! So easy to prepare in not much time! I used it earlier this year with white fleshed guavas and the taste was stunning. I am at this moment doing courgettes in the same manner and they will be great. I can tell already.

    • Jacki! So glad you enjoyed the recipe. We need to try this with courgettes too!