Grandma’s Guava Jam

Hermine was only a tropical storm when it was heading toward us on Wednesday, so I spent the day making my grandma’s guava jam. Our house smelled like tropical paradise and I was canning the last batch when something went POOOW!Grandma's Guava JamIt scared the bejeezus out of me, and it even woke up the cat.Grandma's Guava Jam, plus hurricanes and kitties.And then all the lights went out.

At first I thought I blew up a few mason jars, but this time it wasn’t my fault. A transformer exploded outside our house. We were only beginning to feel the effects of Hermine, which turned into a hurricane as it passed by us two days later.Grandma's Guava Jam and Hurricane HermineOur power was restored that evening, thanks to these guys who work on our electricity in the middle of storms. They got a big bag of mangos. 
Grandma's Guava JamWhile the next two days were dark and stormy, the guava jam definitely helped. I don’t think there’s anything like the smell of guavas. They’re strong, intensely tropical, and slightly musky. Since they’re filled with lots of tiny, hard seeds, they’re not a fruit you typically eat out of hand. Jam is their destiny.Grandma's Guava JamThis was originally my great-grandma Sara Summerlin’s recipe, and it became a staple for every generation since. Our pb&j’s are made with it. We spread it on toast or crackers with cream cheese. We swirl it with cream or yogurt. You’ve seen me drizzle it on grilled mangos and icebox cakes. I love it so much.Grandma's Guava JamGuava trees are ripening right now, and as soon as I collected enough I called my grandma for tips. Grandma's Guava JamFirst, you simmer sliced guavas to get them nice and soft. Next, you use what she calls a “pestler.”  If you want to get fancy, you can call it a chinois. Grandma's Guava JamEither way, you strain the softened guavas through it and end up with a beautiful salmon pink puree, and you’re ready to make some jam.Grandma's Guava Jam Grandma's Guava JamI use natural cane sugar and Pomona’s pectin.  This type of pectin allows you to choose the amount and type of sweetener you like, be it honey or even stevia. You can order it online or buy it at Whole Foods or a kitchen store.  Grandma's Guava JamCan the jars and you’ll be all set for the next hurricane.

Grandma's Guava Jam
  1. about 20 ripe guavas
  2. 6 teaspoons calcium water*
  3. 1/3 cup lime juice
  4. 3 cups natural cane sugar***
  5. 4 1/2 teaspoons Pomona's pectin*
  1. Trim off the stem and blossom ends of the guavas. Quarter them. Place them in a pot with enough water to cover. Simmer for about 15 minutes, or until the guavas are softened.
  2. Transfer the guavas in batches to the pestler or chinois positioned over a bowl and work them through until you've got seeds and fairly dry pulp left. Alternatively, you can pulse them in a blender and strain them through a mesh sieve with a rubber spatula. Discard the seedy pulp.
  3. Measure out 6 cups guava puree into a large pot over medium heat (reserve any leftovers for smoothies).
  4. If using Pomona's pectin*, prepare calcium water and add 6 teaspoons to the guava puree. Stir in the lime juice. Raise the heat and bring it to a boil.
  5. Combine the sugar and pectin and stir it into the boiling puree. Continue stirring it while it returns to a boil. Remove it from the heat. Follow canning instructions** or transfer to clean jars. Allow it to cool, then refrigerate.
  1. *Pomona's pectin comes with a packet of calcium powder to mix with water according to the directions. Feel free to use other pectins such as Sure-Jell or Ball Classic, which don't have this added step, but you'll have to use the full amount of sugar.
  2. **To can, pour jam into hot, sterilized jars. Wipe rims with a clean cloth. Cover with new, sterilized lids and screw on rings. Boil in a hot water bath for 10 minutes. Remove from water. You should hear the lids pop, and each one should be sucked down. This preserves for 1 year.
  3. ***Refer to the Pomona's box for directions for other sweeteners.
Suwannee Rose

41 Comments Grandma’s Guava Jam

  1. Nicole September 4, 2016 at 12:31 pm

    I hate to admit it, but I’ve never eaten a guava! But they’re definitely on my list of must-tries. Your jam sounds like the perfect way to enjoy this beautiful fruit all year! P.S. I love the kitty picture 🙂

    1. suwanneerose September 4, 2016 at 1:52 pm

      Thank you, Nicole! I can’t believe you haven’t tried a guava. I bet you can find one at a farmer’s market near you right now. They’re tricky to eat. Some people eat the seeds, but I slice them in half, scoop out the seeds, and just eat the shell. They’re hard to describe: not too sweet, but very exotic. Good with a squeeze of lime. I’m not sure I’ll have a fresh one to bring to Orlando, but I can definitely bring along a jar of this jam!

  2. Richard September 5, 2016 at 9:59 pm

    I love guava jam. Please save me a jar.

    1. suwanneerose September 6, 2016 at 9:02 am

      I definitely have one with your name on it, Richard. 🙂

  3. Nicole September 6, 2016 at 4:47 pm

    Oh my. If you’re willing to share some of your jam, I’d be honored! One of my friends down here in Venice has a family member who’s a native of FL and has lots of experience with guavas. I’m hoping we can hook up so I can see what she does with them in her kitchen 🙂

    1. suwanneerose September 7, 2016 at 1:00 pm

      I hope you do, and can’t wait to hear what she makes. My grandma gave me instructions on guava ice cream, so when I find more guavas that’s next for me. I’ve always wanted to learn how to make the Cuban-style guava pastries. I’m sure it’s beyond my skill set, though!

  4. Kelley Fowler September 16, 2016 at 6:09 am

    i’ve waited to read this post because of the memories I knew it would awaken. Guava jelly (jam) takes me back to my grandma’s where she had guava trees. As young kids We didn’t like the taste of the guava alone, but we’d pick them for her and she’d perform a miracle which became the guava jelly. it was our favorite. Thanks for the memory.

    1. suwanneerose September 16, 2016 at 8:14 am

      The smell of these cooking on the stovetop definitely took me back. I’ll send some your way.
      As for the jam/ jelly distinction: I remember my grandma filling a pillowcase with mashed fruit and hanging it over a bucket to strain all the juice. I asked her what that was all about and she said that’s how she made jelly, which takes longer than jam. For a while she made both because us grandkids preferred jelly, but eventually we all grew to like the jam more.

  5. Paula October 11, 2016 at 2:36 pm

    This was the best jam I have ever had!!
    Thanks Danielle

    1. suwanneerose October 11, 2016 at 5:31 pm

      Wow! Thank you so much, Paula!

  6. Jen borges October 11, 2016 at 9:45 pm

    I just made this, and it’s delicious! I got 5 pounds of guavas from a neighbor! Looking forward to the guava ice cream recipe!

    1. suwanneerose October 12, 2016 at 9:36 am

      Thank you, Jen! What a score from your neighbor! I’m on a mission to find more guavas and work on that ice cream.

  7. Gina December 31, 2016 at 3:46 pm

    We have a guava tree but our fruit do not get that large. We have to peel them & they have a tangy taste. Do you know how many pounds of guava you used? I’m sure my 20 pieces of fruit will not be as much as yours.

    1. suwanneerose December 31, 2016 at 6:22 pm

      Hi Gina, Next time I make it I’ll definitely measure and update the recipe (which will be as soon as I get more guavas!). If I had to guess, I’d say it’s about 4-5 pounds of fruit. They aren’t very big, maybe slightly larger than a ping-pong ball. They’re very tangy. The outside peel can be tough, but it softens up as it cooks and it’s strained out in the end. I hope this helps!

  8. Shanny August 24, 2017 at 10:31 am

    I have a strawberry guava tree and it’s loaded w fruits right now. The bigger ones are about 1.5 inches round. They are crimson red and smells so good !! I am trying your recipe this morning and hope it come out ok. Thank you for sharing.

    1. suwanneerose August 24, 2017 at 12:00 pm

      I got a delivery of some guavas last night, too! I think I have enough to make a batch of jam plus something extra. I hope the recipe works for you!

  9. SANDRA TILLMAN August 25, 2018 at 1:23 pm

    Any recipe alteration for jelly, as opposed to jam?

    1. suwanneerose August 27, 2018 at 9:00 am

      Hi Sandra,
      I’d like to post the jelly variation next time I get a crop of guavas. Since you’re using only juice and no pulp in jelly, you would need more guavas to get enough yield. After cooking my grandmother strained the mashed guavas in a pillowcase hung over a bucket. Besides that, the recipe is pretty much the same, but I’d read the directions on your pectin to get the ratio for the amount of juice you end up with after straining, and a bit of lemon or lime juice always makes the flavor pop. Enjoy!

  10. Ydolina Negus October 10, 2018 at 2:09 pm

    Does anyone know how much pectin to use if not using Pomona pectin? I only have Ball classic pectin on hand

    1. suwanneerose October 10, 2018 at 6:42 pm

      Use the directions on your pectin, but my grandma always used a little less than it called for because there’s so much natural pectin in the guavas. It goes by volume, so you’ll have to measure the fruit once it’s cooked and consult the label on the pectin. Next time I make it I’ll use classic pectin and update the recipe. Good luck and let me know how yours comes out. I don’t think you can ever go wrong with guava jam!

    2. Ydolina Negus October 10, 2018 at 6:54 pm

      Thank you!

  11. Christine March 27, 2019 at 1:42 pm

    How much are your jars of guava jam?

  12. Diann Gilbert March 29, 2019 at 3:11 am

    I just made a batch! Labor of love! Visiting my mil in Hawaii. Neighbor had a quava tree bursting. Soooo of course I had to find a recipe. Worked perfectly and taste so yummy. Can’t wait to take several jars home to Indiana. Thank you fir sharing!

    1. suwanneerose March 29, 2019 at 7:40 am

      Thanks, Diann! Lucky you! I bet homemade guava jam is hard to come by in Indiana. I’ve been out for a long while now. Can’t wait to find some fresh guavas.

      1. Wanita November 18, 2019 at 6:38 pm

        Using my strawberry guavas for this jam! I made this jam two years ago and it was terrific. I had a bumper crop of strawberry guava this year, and hope it’s as good!

        1. suwanneerose November 19, 2019 at 7:58 am

          Lucky you, Wanita! I wish I had a bumper crop of strawberry guavas right now. I’m so happy you chose my grandma’s jam recipe!

  13. Kathy May 25, 2019 at 5:50 pm

    Do you know what kind of guavas you used? I have large quavas that look a lot bigger than those you have pictured.

    1. suwanneerose May 30, 2019 at 8:25 pm

      Hi Kathy,
      Sorry for the delay in my reply. I’m not sure the variety, but I have used all kinds of guavas, from the itty bitty ones to the really big ones, and I’ve used the white and the pink ones. They all taste great! Cut them into 1-1 1/2 inch pieces. About 10-12 cups of fruit should do it. Once you cook the guavas, you’ll need 6 cups of the puree in order to proceed with the jam. I hope you like it!

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  15. Amy Gailey December 9, 2019 at 1:12 pm

    I have a bumper crop of guavas this year, and I’m looking forward to using your recipe for jam. Question… I have not had good luck in the past with Pomona Pectin so I stick with Ball brand. You say that if you’re not using Pomona, then use the full amount of sugar. Is that more than the 3 cups you list? If so, how much? Also, do you know about how many cups your 20 guavas gave you or a rough ratio of sugar to guava puree? Thanks!!

    1. suwanneerose December 14, 2019 at 11:07 am

      Thanks for that, Amy! If you use Pomona’s you can get away with less than 3 cups or even use sugar substitutes. For Ball brand, you need the full 3 cups.
      I get about 6 cups of puree from those guavas (with the cooking water) and typically I go with a 2:1 ratio (2 cups puree to 1 cup sugar).
      I hope this helps! I’m always working on perfecting this recipe.

      1. Amy December 17, 2019 at 12:47 am

        Awesome! That’s super-helpful. Thank you!!

  16. Lloyd Williams June 9, 2020 at 4:27 pm

    Can this jam be made for canning using sugar substitutes such as Truvia?

  17. Lloyd williams June 9, 2020 at 4:40 pm

    Can this recipe be made for canning using artificial sweeteners such as Truvia?

    1. suwanneerose June 20, 2020 at 11:26 pm

      I’ve never experimented with Truvia, but I do recommend Pomona’s pectin, which is versatile and offers some low sugar options.

  18. Dora A Mendez September 27, 2020 at 10:18 pm

    Hello Suwannee I live in Florida and I have two kinds of guava trees the big ones like pears and the other like the one on your picture both tastes the same to me. Thank you for sharing your grandma’s recipe this is my first time making this jam I follow your instructions to the tee and I love it taste delicious Thank you

    1. suwanneerose September 30, 2020 at 1:04 pm

      Thank you so much for that, Dora! I’m hoping to plant some new guava trees soon. I’d love to have both the big ones and small ones to compare. I love them all!

  19. maria December 22, 2020 at 5:59 pm

    I boiled the guavas, scooped out the seeds, and blended the remaining in a high speed blender. Ny Jam turned out gritty? Is there any way to prevent this?

    1. suwanneerose December 29, 2020 at 1:18 pm

      The jam can be a little gritty if you don’t use a fine enough strainer, and you can line it with extra layers of cheesecloth. You can even strain it through twice. It takes some work to press it through. For very clear jelly, my grandmother filled a pillowcase with the cooked fruit mixture and hung it over a bucket overnight.

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