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A Lemon guava grows on a small tree. The fruits are small in size, around 3 to 5 centimeters in diameter, though it is larger than the petite strawberry guava. The skin ranges in color from a lime green to a golden yellow when mature. The Lemon guava has a jelly-like inner flesh that is perforated with small yellow seeds. The seeds are edible, but are sometimes discarded. Lemon guava offers a fragrant aroma and lemon-guava like flavor.
Lemon guava is available in the late summer and throughout the fall.
Lemon guavas are known to the scientific community as Psidium littorale or Psidium cattleianum var. lucidum (based on the horticulturalist who recorded it in the 18th century). The more sub-tropical guava variety is known by many names throughout the sub-tropics and Tropical regions of the world. Commonly called the Cattley guava in the United States and Guayaba Japonesa in Guatemala and in Hawaii the yellow-hued Lemon guavas are called Waiawi whereas the red variety are called waiawi ulaula.
Lemon guavas, like most guava varieties, contains a high amount of vitamin A and folate. It also contains vitamins C (even greater amounts are in the skin) and B-complex vitamins as well as minerals like potassium.
Lemon guavas can be eaten both raw and cooked. The pulp from blended guavas is often used to make smoothies or frozen desserts, and can be added to marinades, dressings and sauces. Slice the flesh to add to tropical fruit salads with pineapple, passion fruit and papaya. Complimentary herbs include basil, tarragon, chervil, chive and thyme. The sweet flavor of a Lemon guava compliments shrimp, fish, pork and chicken. Store Lemon guavas at room temperature for up to 4 days, refrigerate ripe fruit for up to a week.
Lemon guavas are fast-growing and as a result, they have been considered an invasive species in many tropical regions, like Hawaii.
The Lemon guava is native to the coastal areas of eastern Brazil and can be found growing in limited areas outside of Brazil in South America. Lemon guavas grow best in sub-tropical areas, whereas it’s close relative the more common guava (Psidium guava) thrives in a tropical climate. In the late 19th century 3,000 plants were planted in Southern California and after a half a century, the crop was producing heavily. Lemon guava trees grow well in most soil conditions and once well-established they are drought-resistant. Cattley or Lemon guavas can now be found growing in Bermuda, the Bahamas, Florida and the West Indies.