Guavaberries are from a fruit tree that originated in the Caribbean and is now found wild in many locations including Central and South America. They are known in Hawaii and Florida as rumberries.
It is a warm climate tree or shrub that grows well in rocky terrain and can reach anywhere from thirty-three up to sixty feet high. The red-brown branches produce small pink and white flowers before bearing fruit approximately a half-inch or under. The fruit color ranges from a yellow-orange hue to dark-red with little pulp encircling a single seed.
It is a temperamental tree often not bearing fruit due to high winds and insect infestation. Under favorable conditions the trees can bear fruit during various times of the year. For tropical plant enthusiasts, it can be grown indoors. As an indoor shrub it can potentially reach a height of about six feet.
Years ago, the most common of commodities were guavaberry wines and rums. During the late 1800’s many countries saw profit in exporting the product to Denmark. However that is where it ended and it is hard to find this popular local staple in places other than the Caribbean.
Due to its sweetness, the liquor is usually mixed with other beverages. It can also enhance the flavor of many sauces and desserts when cooking. Holiday traditions in certain countries require that you carol from door to door singing for a taste of your neighbors’ guavaberry liquor as each of them might have a unique recipe for one to sample.
Today guavaberry can be found in jams, juices, liquors, desserts (including ice cream), and sold by herbalists to make a syrup that can be used to treat liver conditions. Guavaberry liquor, which is made from rum, is a common Christmas drink on many islands, like Saint Maarten and the US Virgin Islands.
Vitamins, Minerals and Phytochemical Components
Guavaberries contain levels of vitamin C that are perhaps thirty times higher than oranges and provide B vitamins and minerals including iron. It also contains ash, calcium, carbohydrates, fiber, iron, niacin, phosphorus, protein, riboflavin, and thiamin.
Medicinal Uses Based on Scientific Studies