This farm is full of highland guava trees. The insects know about their little round fruits, but until this week, I really did not. They grow at this elevation like weeds. The bark is quite pretty but otherwise not much to recommend the tree. The smell of the fruit is intoxicating and you can not miss that, but the flavor, at least off the tree, is a disappointment........ and then there are the worms.
This week, I learned how to capture the aroma of the skin in a delicious jelly and how to use the dense pulp to make a butter or paste. The jelly is more delicious than strawberry jam it has a strawberry, pineapple almost rhubarb quality that captures the aroma you pick up when you walk past a tree with ripe fruit on the farm. The aroma that drives the insects crazy.
The paste is the caramelized pulp and is better than fig paste with cheese. Guavas have a fig quality to them. Could think of them as poor mans figs. Lots of little seeds, it just takes some coaxing to make them soft and get the caramel flavor out of them. I am completely captivated by this little fruit. Completely understand why this fruit is a fly and worm magnet.
The other surprise is that not all mountain guava are the same. They all look the same initially and taste the same but actually there are white, pink and orange versions of the fruit. When you cook with them these different colors give you a palate to work with that adds to the fun of the process. I will be making this stuff until September when the season finishes. This is a quintessential flavor of Boquete.
Here are some pictures of the fruits. The smell throughout was quite incredible and the end result very pleasing. I was using white and yellow guava and so my finished result is somewhat orangey. Next time, I am going to try the white mixed with pink, that should be a very pretty color, I like pink!
The oranges just won't stop ripening. It is exhausting. The harvest will likely be over by the end of November this year. There are growing piles of orange gold sitting around the farm this morning. Normally, I would have oranges at least through January. With the hot, relatively dry, summer the oranges are all ripening up quickly.
I have pulled the caretaker and a full time coffee worker for orange picking duties for a few days. This at least cuts down some of the labor costs. We may even break-even.
So, another 4000 or so leave today on our Coffee Manager's truck, I delivered 100 to a lady customer. Finally, we made more marmalade. Although satisfying, marmalade only used up 30 oranges. Apparently, my oranges are the sweetest freshest in Boquete but unfortunately sold to the market by the 100, I do not get any credit for that.
My little marmalades are becoming quite popular. I am making a coffee and orange mixture that is the essence of Boquete as well as this farm. It tastes very good especially on scones, somewhat too delicious. Trouble is there is only so much marmalade a girl can make comfortably in a week; And only so many scones and marmalade a girl should eat in a month. Yesterday, I swapped some marmalade for strawberries from a friends strawberry farm up the mountain and we had strawberries for dinner and smoothies for breakfast this morning. My offer stands to all within a delivery radius of my farm.... what will you give me in exchange for oranges? Life is good.
They say necessity is the mother of invention. The pickers are all out picking coffee and I have more oranges, gazillions more. They are delicious, sweet juicy, seedless oranges, but nobody except me and the gardener to pick them until Saturday.
So, tonight I made a prototype batch of Coffee and Orange marmalade. Boquete coffees are famous for their sweet citrus floral notes. This is a not so subtle attempt to mix the two and it is a marriage made in heaven. The orange gives the citrus, the peel the floral and the local natural sugar lends a hint of caramel.
Only one problem - it looks more like a jar of branston pickle than orange marmalade.