Guava paste, despite what its name might suggest, is more like a jellied candy than a spreadable paste. Made from guava, a tropical fruit, guava paste is commonly eaten throughout Latin America, where it's used to flavor or accompany everything from desserts to fresh cheese. Also known as goiabada or guayabate, guava paste made fresh has a more delicate, fresh flavor than the canned or tinned varieties one can sometimes find in Latin American grocery stores.
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Guava paste is best made from fresh guava, rather than canned guava puree or frozen fruit. Select perfectly ripe or just underripe guavas to make your paste. Be aware that the fruits spoil quickly soon after they are ripe.
Ripe guavas will have a slight give when squeezed, and will have no brown or soft spots.
Store underripe guavas next to a banana or apple, or in a closed paper bag, to to encourage faster ripening. Store ripe guava in the fridge for 3 to 5 days to prolong shelf life.
Making the Paste
To make guava paste from fresh guava, you first need to make a guava puree. If you are using pre-made guava puree, such as canned or frozen, you will need to add lemon rinds to thicken the puree into a paste.
Guava paste is often paired with fresh, white cheese, such as cream cheese or queso blanco, where the sweetness of the fruit paste offsets the natural saltiness of the cheese. It can also be used to season baked goods, like muffins or turnovers, or used in place of jams or jellies for savory appetizers, like baked cheese bites.