I always seems to find something interesting at my husband’s favorite Kroger in Cincinnati. The first time there, I found some favorites difficult to find in this area – bitter melon and lychee. Last weekend, I found guava and quince.
I nearly hugged the guava like I did when I found the bitter melon. It evoked memories of being out with my aunties and uncles, picking guava straight from the tree, and tearing into the skin with my thumbs to reveal the juicy pink flesh. I often read about others eating vegetables straight from their garden and that there is nothing like it. There isn’t anything like eating ripe fruit you picked yourself or someone picked for you and brought home. I have quite a few memories linked to eating fresh fruit straight from the trees, bushes, or vines. Guava, pineapple, coconut, mango, lychee, berries, and plums are the ones that immediately come to mind.
The entire guava is edible when ripe. It has 4 times the amount of Vitamin C as an orange. It is full of the carotenoids and polyphenols (antioxidants). It also contains lots of dietary fiber, potassium, copper, Vitamin A, folic acid, and manganese. However, it wasn’t for those reasons that I would drink lots of guava juice and eat the fruit when I could get it. It just tastes good. I really have no comparison for it. The flesh is grainy and sweet, but not overly sweet. It’s that “just right” sweet.
Near the basket of guava, was a basket of quince. I was intrigued. I’ve heard of it, but never saw one before. I figured I’d get one to try. But, how do I pick one? Ah, that was the question. They were all pretty firm, but differing colors. Some were green, some were yellow, and some were that in between yellowish green. I decided to go with smell and picked one that smelled sweet and ripe like other fruits. The one I chose happened to be fairly yellow, as well. When I got home and Googled quince, I found that I chose well. They are golden yellow when ripe. However, most weren’t meant to eat raw. Quince is difficult to cut into. The core is harder than apples and pears. I was struggling to halve the one pictured in half. It didn’t help that I had to cut it on the plate because my husband had just used the cutting board to chop some wheat seitan. No cross-contamination, please! The flesh was a bit brown when I finally got it open. It didn’t stop me from tasting it. In fact, the browner flesh was sweeter and more palatable than the non-brown spots. However, my husband was concerned and was Googling. He disliked the taste so much he actually spit it out, which I’ve never seen him do. He strongly encouraged me to stop eating the half I was munching on. So, my partially eaten half and his half went into the garbage can. He was going off the look of pictures. I felt fine so I knew there wasn’t anything wrong with it that same day. I just Googled about brown flesh in quince and found the following from the comments on a blog post about poached quince: “As for the ripe, spotless quinces with brown spots or brownish flesh inside – they’re perfectly all right. The brown spots are often a sign that the weather was too good – the trees bear more fruit than the can nourish, but the fruit is edible nonetheless.” Good to know for future reference.