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It’s guava season

Guava (Guayaba in Spanish)guavas

– is a delightfully fragrant fruit, revered and hated throughout the world. I love its smell and taste so much I can’t imagine hating it, though I know some folks don’t like their smell.

Here in South Florida, commercial plantings are typically of big-fruited Asian varieties, harvested and eaten green. At this stage, they are crunchy like an apple, without much aroma, and often eaten with salt and a sprinkle of hot pepper – much like a green mango. However, there are many other varieties, and a few growers grow them for ripe eating. There are some closely-guarded groves with old-fashioned types, considered to have the most flavor. Many years ago, guavas escaped into the wild – thus they are classified as invasive and not recommended for planting here. Not that there’s much wild left here…

Wild guavas exhibit a lot of variability. They could be small or large-fruited, oval, round or even pear-shaped, with creamy white, yellow, orange, pink or red interior, and they vary from subacid to sweet in flavor.

No matter what kind of guava you grow, though, in South Florida we have a terrible problem with fruit flies. Often, by the time the fruit ripens, they are completely infested with squirming larva that hatch in the center pulp and eat their way out.Ripening is what triggers the hatching.  Many growers spray pesticides, and also bag the fruit in a cloth or plastic bag to prevent the fly from laying eggs in the fruit. When you see a field full of “bag trees” – think guavas!

Guavas can produce multiple crops throughout the year, with a heavy crop in late summer and often a light crop around December. It’s guava season now, and it’s time to take advantage of the bounty.

What to make with the windfall? First, harvest them just before they start to turn soft and yellow. This will minimize the hatching and development of fruit fly larva inside the fruit. The eggs will still be there, and maybe some young ‘uns, but as I like to say, “it’s 33% protein”. When harvested early, they’re confined to the seedy pulp, which can still be processed to make jam, guava butter, juice, and other delicious things. Why can you do this? because the seeds are so hard you’ll end up straining the seeds out, along with the buggies, leaving delicious pulp. But if you’re a die-hard vegan, stay away, because there will always be some tiny eggs slipping through and even some tiny larva, all completely harmless. Squeamish? get over it, and you’ll enjoy much deliciousness.

My favorite way to deal with guavas is to make “Cascos de Guayaba” with the shells, and guava butter with the pulp. They’re both very easy to make. Sometimes I get inspired and make guava leather with the pulp (heavenly, with some cinnamon and hot pepper). You can also make juice with the strained pulp.

Cascos de Guayaba  aka Guava Shells guava-shells

(and bonus pulp for other recipes)

  • Wash a bunch of guavas (as many as you’d like to use).
  • Remove any left-over sepals sticking out from the end of the fruit and lightly trim off the rough end.
  • Cut each guava in half. Using a spoon, remove the inside seedy pulp, taking care not to dig into the shells. (Set the seedy pulp aside for guava marmalade, guava butter, or even juice.)
  • In a deep saucepan, bring water and sugar to a boil. The amount of sugar you use depends on how sweet and thick you want the end result. You can make a light syrup or a heavy syrup, to taste. Add a stick of cinnamon, and (optional) 3 or 4 pieces of star anise. Also optional: the juice of 1 lemon or lime, and a very small pinch of salt.
  • When the syrup is boiling, cook the guava shells in batches. Don’t overfilll the pan, so you don’t damage the shells as they cook. The longer they cook, the softer and darker they will get. Again, this is to taste, so play until you like the results.
  • Carefully remove the cooked shells from the boiling syrup and put them in a bowl or a jar. Repeat, until you’ve finished cooking all the guavas. Pour the syrup over the cooked shells, and cool.
  • Serve chilled, with a dollop of cream cheese (the traditional Cuban way), drizzled with some of the syrup. Save the extra syrup to use on pancakes or angel-food cake, or use as a deliciously-flavored sweetener.

What to do with the seedy pulp you saved?

If you have a macerating juicer (the kind with an Archimedean screw (it looks like a long corkscrew), it works great to separate the pulp from the seeds before cooking. Dump the seeds – they are really hard, and do NOT soften in cooking. If you don’t have one of these handy devices, don’t despair.
  • Cook the pulp (with or without the seeds) in enough water to encourage the pulp to separate from the seeds. If making guava butter or leather, don’t add a ton of water, or you’ll be stirring it for hours while all that extra water evaporates.
  • When it’s sufficiently soft, strain the seeds out and save the pulp. I like to extract every last scrap of pulp, so I will often pour a bit of water through the strainer and scrape the strainer to get more of the goodies. Be careful, though – too much scraping and you might push some seeds through.
  • Sweeten to taste (you need less than you think, because as the water evaporates it will concentrate the sweetening power). If you feel the need, look up an apple butter or a jam recipe to get an idea of amount of sugar to use per cup of pulp. I always cut it to half of what the recipes say, but that’s me – I don’t like super sickly sweet jams.
  • Add a bit of lime juice (optional). If have a lot of syrup left over from the guava shells, you can use it in place of some of the water and sugar.
  • You don’t need pectin with guava, as they have their own.
  • Cook slowly, stirring often to prevent sticking and burning. Start with a medium heat, then lower the temperature as it thickens, so it doesn’t burp in your face.
  • For apple butter, you need it thick enough that it will spread on a slice of toast without being runny. You can keep going, and make jam or marmalade. In that case, use a thermometer, or use the “sheet test” – scoop up a spoonful and slowly let it drip off the side of the spoon. If it comes off in a curtain or a sheet instead of pouring off in drips, it’s ready. Pour it into a jar, cap, let cool and refrigerate. If you want to keep it shelf-stable, then run it in a canner (canner).

Fruit leather

If you want to make fruit leather, you’ll need a dehydrator, with silicone trays or sheets. Cook it to the butter stage, then spread it out on the trays – not too thick, as it will run off the edges. Dehydrate at 115 – 130, rotating trays if necessary, until it’s leathery. Roll them off the sheets, cut the rolls into 2″ sections and wrap indivirually in wax paper. Store in a ziploc bag. To prevent spoilage due to our high humidity, I like to keep my dried fruit in the refrigerator. It lasts indefinitely that way.


For guava juice or nectar, it’s best to have a macerating juicer, so you don’t have to deal with the seeds. You can also use a blender, adding water first. Pulse a few times. Don’t blend too long, or you will break up the seeds into tiny shards that will make your juice “sandy”. Strain the liquid, using a wooden spoon to stir the glob inside the strainer. Pour more water into the strainer to help extract more of the pulp from the seeds. Repeat a few times. Throw out the seeds.
Add more water to the pulp and sugar to taste, or sweeten with some of the syrup from the guava shells you made earlier. Chill and drink. Stir before serving.

8th Annual Farm Day

Open House at Bee Heaven Farm

Come to the country * Fun for the whole family!

Sunday, December 23rd,  11:30am – 3:00pm

* Hay Rides and other Activities *

For all the kids at heart

* Farm Market *

locally-grown seasonal organic produce, dried tropical fruit, raw farm honey, heirloom tomato and veggie starts, and other goodies for sale

* Live Music *

 with local singers Jennings & Keller


Chef Keith Kalmanowicz’s

Love & Vegetables Community Pop-Up Café

featuring fresh from the farm food, lovingly prepared & served buffet-style for an exciting eating experience

A suggested donation of $10 (or whatever you can afford-more is always welcome-anything is appreciated!) helps to cover food costs and provides support for our farm internship program

Your donation includes a raffle ticket for door prizes

Extra raffle tickets available @ 5/$20

Directions: from southbound on US1, turn west (right) on Bauer Drive (SW 264th St), & go approx 5 miles. The farm is 1/3mile west of Redland Road (SW 187th Ave). Look for the farm sign & flags. Please angle park on the swale.

it’s time to plant, isn’t it?

We had been waiting, it seemed like forever,  for this extended rainy season to slow down enough to plant our CSA and market crops. We started our usual batch of heirloom tomato seedlings to sell (and to plant), and planned on having an expanded selection of other crops as well ready for our annual seedling sale. But the weather was not cooperating. The tomatoes did great, as did many of the hot peppers and some of the eggplant, revealing their tropical origin. Other crops like chard, kale, basil, cilantro refused to germinate well, between the extreme heat and humidity.

Now that the rains have stopped and the temperatures have cooled down, it’s like we’ve entered another world. Veggie plants are growing nicely, animals are frisky – and growing thicker coasts – have you noticed? Hmmmm…..

Charge dismissed!

Thanks to CSA member Frodnesor’s friend Andrew DeW and an understanding judge, the criminal misdemeanor charge against me (see Farmer Margie Arrested! Driving Incognito Farm Truck) was dismissed. What a nice way to end the year!


 Seq No.  Charge  Charge Type  Disposition

Many thanks, Andrew! Now, to get the record expunged?

Happy New Year, everyone!

Farm Day! our annual open house – everyone’s invited


FARM DAY at Bee Heaven Farm

Sunday, December 19th

11:30 am-3:30 pm

Come to the country! Fun for the whole family!
* Activities *     * Hay Rides *
* Farm Market * 

Featuring locally-grown seasonal organic produce, dried fruit,  raw farm honey,  heirloom tomato plants, veggie & flower plants for sale 

* Live Music *   with local singer/songwriter Grant Livingston 

*Food*   with Sakaya Kitchen’s Dim Ssäm à Gogo Food Truck.

 Chef Richard Hales will be preparing dishes using local ingredients – bring $$ for this amazing food!

Your $5 donation helps support our farm internship program, and includes a chance to win a Smith & Hawken BioStack Composter- a $129 value

Directions: from southbound on US1, turn west (right) on Bauer Drive (SW 264th St), & go approx 5 miles. The farm is about 1/3 miles past Redland Road (SW 187th Ave).  Look for the farm sign & flags.

Get your Heirloom Tomato plants this weekend!

…at Fairchild’s Edible Garden Festival. Look for our booth – we’ll be surrounded by a sea of baby tomato plants waiting for you to take them home. We have 66 varieties of all shapes, colors and sizes-over 2500 plants!   $3 each; buy 5, get another one free; buy 15, get 5 more free.

Rain or shine…

We’ll be at the Summer Fruit Festival Saturday and Sunday. It’s from 10am-4pm at the Redland Fruit & Spice Park, located on SW 248th St (Coconut Palm Drive) and SW 197th Ave (Redland Road). We’ll have plenty of goodies.  COME EARLY TO AVOID THE AFTERNOON THUNDERSTORMS!

Fruit:  watermelons (personal size), cantaloupes, LYCHEES!, white sapote, RIPE (and unripe) MAMEY!

Eggs: our own certified organic eggs, SMOKED eggs

Honey: our raw farm wildlflower and seasonal (troical fruit) honey

Herbs: lemongrass, curryleaf, Thai basil, garlic chives, ‘regular’ chives, scallions. And for a change from everyday bay laurel leaves, try allspice or bay rum leaves.

Sprouts:  sunflower, radish and pea shoots

Veggies: butternut squash,and just a little bit each of eggplant, HOT peppers, carrots, kolrahbi, and maybe a few beets and radishes.

See you there!

Sister blog Redland Rambles wins SFDB post of the week twice in a row!

Recent posts on Marian’s blog, Redland Rambles, have been selected two times in a row as the South Florida Daily Blog Post of the Week. That’s an amazing feat- kudos to Marian!!

The first post in the double sequence was her in-depth writeup about Slow Food Miami’s  Locavore Bike Ride held at our farm last month. The second was Veggies in the City, about the new Roots in the City Farmers Market in Overtown. Check them out by clicking on the links provided above.

Marian’s blog posts are often mentioned in the SFDB’s daily sifts. Earlier in March, One Last Bite of Potato was a runner up for that week’s POTW. In February, Waiting for Kids was a runner up too. And  Beans 1, Soccer 0, about a misguided zoning request in the heart of Redland’s farming area, was a runner up for POTW back in November.

Marian is too modest to pat her own back (much), so we’ll pat it for her- CONGRATULATIONS on a great job and on keeping us informed about matters relating to our local Redland agriculture!

Some great statistics about buying local

This is a great post summarizing the economic benefits to the community of buying from local businesses:

Thanksgiving in the barn

The year we started the CSA, we also began a new trandition – Thanksgiving dinner in the barn. Family, friends, WWOOFers and interns join us at a very long table running the length of the barn. Everyone pitches in with a dish. My father-in-law, a retired pastry chef, always prepares a number of awesome pies: key lime, pecan, pumpkin, and my new favorite – pecan/pumpkin. Of course, he brings fresh whipped cream in the special baker’s cloth dispenser with the fancy tips, and we all take turns putting some in our coffee after he tops the pies. Other dishes include Homestead Organic Farms’ new green bean harvest simply-prepared with a bit of oil or butter and some herbs. The inevitable sweet potatoes show up in various guises, and I always make an awesome tart cranberry/carambola/orange sauce, or some variation thereof, depending on what fruit we happen to have around. We always try to have a smoked turkey, and this year, Robert from Possum Trot  is joining our group for the first time, and smoking one of our grass-fed organic turkeys (unfortunately, not local).

Today it rained all day – over 4″ of rain – and the crew spent most of the day cleaning up the barn and organizing thing so everything is clean and sparkly for Thanksgiving dinner. Tomorrow I will be roasting the other turkey, preparing the cranberry sauce and the stuffing (a seat-of-the-pants creation which always involves bread or cornbread, nuts, celery, and fresh cranberries, among other things). We’ll probably serve some of our own antidesma wine along with the organic Bonterra wines Marian will be bringing.

It promises to be a great evening, as always, and we will express our gratitude for the wonderful bounty our planet provides in return for simple caring. Happy Thanksgiving!


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July 2022

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