I tasted my first guayaba at my abuelito’s house when I was ten. I had gone to stay a few weeks with them over the summer and he always made sure we had plenty of pan dulce, orange juice, fruit and fresh corn tortillas. In the late afternoons we would walk to a tiny corner store at the end of the street to pick up a few dulces, this was my older sister’s favorite time of the day.
My abuelita would make him a grocery list (she never learned to drive) and we would pile into his car and head out to the Lopez Supermarket. It was a small store with a meat market in the rear that filled the entire store with an intense smell of fresh tripas and tripe. As I walked by gagging I often wondered how the employees could bear the smell.
We loaded our small grocery cart and headed home. Abuelita would begin dinner and we would sit on the front porch watching the passing neighbors and snacking on fruit. Abeulito would begin peeling fruit cleaning his hands with the blue handkerchief that he always wore around his neck.
This is where I first tried guayabas, they smelled of summer, almost like a beach vacation and they had a tiny scent of salty- sweat. My grandfather was never indoors, he was always tinkering, sitting outside with his red face and sweaty neck, hence the handkerchief. I was smitten at first bite.
When I was older, married and moved to Killeen living away from family for the first time I used to spend hours at the grocery store. Scanning the shelves looking for anything that resembled home. I would buy the fideo, beans and papayas by the ton. One day I was scouring the produce and my nose picked up a faint smell of something familiar. And there they were… guayabas, they smelled like my abuelito. He had died almost eleven years ago and in one sniff he was back, back with me when I had no family near. I almost cried, but held my tears to not worry my daughter. I grabbed a plastic bag, reached in the bin and scooped them All up.
All ten pounds.
That entire week I shared them with my daughter, used them to make lemonade and glazed them with piloncillo to serve over ice cream. Mi carino asked why I loved guayabas so much and I simply said,
“They smell like my abuelito,”
- 2 cups fresh guayaba juice, strain for bits
- 1 cup fresh lime juice, plus zest from ½ lime
- 2 cups of water
- ½ cup to 1 cup of sugar
- In a large pitcher combine, guayaba juice, lime juice, zest, water and ½ cup sugar.
- Whisk until sugar is dissolved.
- Taste for sweetness and add remaining ½ cup of sugar if desire.
- Serve over ice.