Eat the invasives! I love finding uses for the invasive plants around my land. I used tomato ketchup recipes as a guide to develop this recipe. It uses mostly guava, and tastes very much like tomato ketchup with a bit of a tropical zing. Delicious and addicting! Local restaurants should really serve something like this with taro or 'ulu fries/chips!
While usually I try to back off on sugar in recipes, I found that sugar is very important for making this guava ketchup like a tomato ketchup - the ketchups we are used to are so full of sugar! When I used less sugar, the result was still delicious, but more of a sweet-and-sour guava sauce than a guava ketchup. Try playing around with spicing and sweetening to your taste.
I used the common yellow guava (the one that is about the size of a plum and pink inside) for this recipe. The fruits were mostly firm-ripe, with a few under-ripe for more flavor and pectin. To prepare the puree, I chopped up the fruit and blended it with the juice of one lemon. I then strained the mixture to separate the seeds. Guava is so viscous that it needs to be coaxed through the sieve. I did this by stirring and mashing with a spoon.
7 cups guava puree (the skin and inside without the seeds, plus some lemon juice)
spices to taste, I used:
- 20 allspice seeds, crushed
- 20 cardamom pods, sliced
- 40 grains of paradise, crushed
- 1 tbsp local Ceylon cinnamon
6 tbsp white vinegar (5%)
1/2 cup coconut sugar
1 tbsp tomato paste (for umami)
1/2 tsp salt
Add the spices and the raw sugar to the guava puree and bring to boil in a wide, shallow pan/pot. Turn down the heat to low boil. Cook down for about 2 hours, until the volume it about 1/2 of the original. The guava puree is viscous, so stir frequently to prevent burning.
Let cool slightly then strain the spices from the puree. Transfer back to the pout and add the rest of the ingredients. Boil for another 1 to 2 hours, while stirring, until it is the consistency of ketchup.
If you would like to can, check the pH to make sure it is 4.0 or below (if you follow this recipe, it should be well below that), ladle into 4 or 8 oz jars leaving ¼ inch headspace, and heat-process for 10 minutes. If you don’t want to can, refrigerate to keep for a month.
This recipe yields about 35 oz (a bit over 4 half-pint jars) of ketchup.