Guava Jelly

Guavas (Photo by remusse/flickr)

Remember to include some half-ripe fruit to help the jelly set, as fully ripe fruit is low in pectin. There is a fresher flavor and a considerable saving in time if you add pectin; and less evaporation means more jars of jelly which are not as sweet as when they are cooked longer.


3 kg/6 lb guavas
lime or lemon juice
commercial pectin


Wash the guavas and put them into a large stainless steel saucepan. Add water until it just shows beneath the top layer of fruit. Bring to the boil and simmer for about an hour or until the fruit is soft. Cool slightly, then pour into a muslin cloth or jelly bag which has been wrung out in water. (If the cloth is dry, it absorbs too much of the precious fruit juice.) Place the wet cloth across a deep bowl and pour the fruit into the centre. Bring the corners of the cloth together and tie firmly with string. Allow to hang over the bowl of juice and drip slowly, preferably overnight. (The pulp can be used for making guava butter or guava cheese.)

Measure the liquid and allow 3/4 cup white sugar to each cup of liquid. Cook no more than 5 cups of juice at a time, as the secret of fresh flavour and bright colour is quick cooking. Bring to the boil, add sugar and strained juice of 1 lime or lemon. Stir until sugar dissolves. Boil for 5-10 minutes. Draw pan away from heat and add pectin, sprinkling it over the surface if it is in powdered form. For even distribution, mix the dry powder with a few tablespoons of sugar.

Once more, bring to the boil and boil hard, stirring, for 10 minutes or until jelly drops from side of spoon in two or three slow drops, joined by a 'sheet' or 'flake' of the transparent liquid. This is an indication that a good set will be obtained. Do not skim the surface while cooking, or much of the pectin will be lost.

Have ready clean, hot jars. (They may be heated in the oven on a baking tray.) Pour the jelly into a heatproof glass jug and skim any froth off the surface just before pouring jelly slowly and carefully into the jars. (Take the jars from the oven a minute or two before filling them, as if they are too hot the jelly will bubble up in the jars and spill over the rim. Seal with lids and leave to cool.

Recipe excerpted from Encyclopedia of Asian Food by Charmaine Solomon (Periplus Editions, 1998)