Thursday | September 29, 2016
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Guava has long history in Hawaii

Guava has been in Hawaii for a long time and was food to Native Hawaiians, although its name has Spanish roots.

In 1900, Robert Rycroft, with his son Walter, started the first commercial production of guava in Pohoiki and made jams and jellies. Then in Hilo, various individuals opened businesses from 1946-1947 to start making guava jams and jellies.

Harumi Kaneko, George Lycurgus, and Kreston Nagao produced guava jams and jellies in the Waiakea Kai and the Hilo Industrial areas. In 1965 George Lycurgus sold his Niolopa operations to Suisan Company Ltd. and Norman Koshiyama purchased Kaneko Jelly Company from the Kaneko family in 1971.

Today, I do not think any of these companies are in existence. I see some guava orchards around town, some well-maintained and some looking abandoned. I hope there could be a resurgence of this industry as this “berry” has many wonderful uses and is good for our health.

When we are on Oahu, we may go to DeeLite Bakery for their guava chiffon cake.

Here is Linda Stradley’s version of Guava Chiffon Cake, like the famous bakery’s cake.

Guava Chiffon Cake

Serves 16

Linda Stradley

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Cover cooling racks with plastic wrap.

In a bowl of an electric mixer, sift together:

2 1/4 cups cake flour

3/4 cup sugar

1 tablespoon baking powder

1 teaspoon salt


1/2 cup canola oil

1 cup frozen guava juice concentrate, thawed, and undiluted

5 egg yolks, slightly beaten

2 drops red food coloring (optional)

Beat with paddle attachment at medium speed for 2 minutes until just smooth. Remove from bowl (this is when it is good to have a second bowl) and set aside. Clean bowl completely and dry. Using the whipping attachment, beat:

8 egg whites, at room temperature

1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar

When soft peaks form, add:

1/2 cup sugar, one tablespoon at a time

Beat until stiff peaks form

Using a rubber spatula, gently fold 1/3 of cake mixture into the egg white mixture until just barely mixed. Gently fold in the remaining mixture just until incorporated and do not over-mix.

Pour into two round, ungreased 9-inch cake pans filled to the top, smooth top with a rubber spatula. Bake 35-40 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. To prevent the cake from falling, do not open the oven door until near the end of the minimum baking time. Remove from oven when done and immediately invert the cakes onto the prepared wire racks to cool completely. Cool with pan in place — do not remove cake from cake pans. When the cakes are cool, gently remove from the pans.

Place cakes in the refrigerator until well chilled.

Prepare guava frosting.

Guava Frosting:

In a large bowl, beat until soft peaks form:

1 1/2 cups heavy cream

Gradually add, beating until still peaks form:

1/3 cup powdered sugar

Fold in, blending well:

1/2 cup frozen guava juice concentrate, thawed and undiluted

Store in refrigerator until ready to spread on the cake.

When the cake is well chilled, remove from refrigerator.

Make the guava topping while cake is in refrigerator.

Guava Topping:

In a small bowl, combine:

2 tablespoons cornstarch

2 tablespoons water

In a small saucepan, over medium-high heat, bring just to a boil:

1 1/4 cups frozen guava juice concentrate, thawed and undiluted

Cook until just boiling, reduce heat to low. Add cornstarch slurry and stir until mixture thickens to a sauce-like consistency. Remove from heat and let cool to lukewarm before spreading on the cake.

Place one cake layer onto a cake plate and spread top with 1/2 cup of lukewarm guava topping with the remaining cake layer. To keep the cake from sliding to one side, insert a long wooden skewer into the middle and all the way to the bottom. Spread frosting on sides and top of the cake.

Spread the remaining guava topping on top of the cake. Store cake in refrigerator until ready to serve.


The Malay name for guava is Jambu Portugis which could mean it was brought to Malaysia by the Portuguese explorers.

In India, the leaves are used to treat wounds and toothaches. In the Philippines, the leaves and roots are used to treat swollen gums and the fruit eaten to treat throat inflammation. Made into a thick paste, it is applied to boils, ulcers, and open wounds. Like the Hawaiians, the leaves are chewed to treat diarrhea.

Guava is rich in Vitamin C, with one medium fruit containing 150 mg of vitamin C, with a good amount of vitamin A, potassium, calcium and 9 grams of dietary fiber.

Guava is also a source of the carotenoid called lycopene, a wonderful antioxidant, also found in tomatoes.

Please feel free to e-mail me at if you have a question. Bon appetit until next week.


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