We all love the tropical fruit that is guava. If I’m not mistaken, the Arawaks brought the guayabo “guava tree” from South America to Trinidad. Most commonly, guavas have a yellow rough skin with a fragrant grainy pink inside. What I love about the fruit is that from the skin to the seeds you can eat the entire thing. Yup, no wastage here.
Not far from my apartment in New Jersey stands a grocery store that carries a wide range of Spanish products. From annatto seeds, Spanish olives/oils, corn husks for tamales, Mexican cheeses, and a bunch of dried leaves and herbs for teas and home remedies—everything. Now, Mayor Bloomberg’s ability to speak in Spanish might be a little better than mine, but it’s good enough to read the labels, ask questions, and incorporate these foods in my home cooking.
Months ago, I bought a pack of guava paste; I said to myself, “meh… when I’m bored I’ll find SOMETHING to make with it.” The perfect opportunity came up when I was going through my kitchen cabinets to get ideas for a dinner party I hosted a couple weeks ago. The guava paste or “guava cheese”, as it called in Trinidad, is simply guava pulp and sugar. It would have made a delicious pastry for dessert, but I wanted to do something a bit more creative (and easy) with it. I decided to make guava iced tea with loose white tea leaves and the guava paste. What a thirst-quenching change it was from the normal red and white wines I would serve to friends! Mixed with orange peel, lemongrass, and a little brown sugar, I can definitely see myself making this guava iced tea again for the summer!
3 quarts of filtered water
4 cups of loose white tea leaves
1 lemongrass stick
Peel from one orange
1 cup of brown sugar
1 pack of guava paste
Couple dashes of Angostura bitters
Bring three quarts of water to a boil. Once it starts to boil, turn the fire off and stir in the loose tea leaves, lemongrass, and orange peel. Brew for no more than 10 minutes so the tea does not become bitter, strain. Leave the lemongrass and orange peel in the tea. On a low/medium fire in a small sauce pan, add three cups of the strained brewed tea and the guava paste (I like to slice the paste, it melts quicker this way) and cook until the paste is melted and in a liquid form. Add the guava liquid to the tea and let stand overnight before sweetening and adding the bitters. Strain the tea one last time before placing it in a pitcher for serving. Garnish with sliced fruit.