We opened one of the last jars of my mom’s guava jelly this morning. That makes it a special morning.
It’s marked in her handwriting.
My mom’s been gone since January 2013. The last guava tree died of inattention during her final years at home, when she could no longer get out to water and prune and fuss over the plants.
The jar is dated 22 May. Year unknown.
I opened the top and flipped out the wax that she poured into the top to seal it from the air. The seal did its job.
The jelly is wonderful, a deep rich red color, almost black. And the taste is just as deep and rich. Amazing that tastes can bring back vivid memories. My mom in her tiny kitchen, boiling the guavas for hours, then hanging the mush in cheesecloth to let the raw juice drip through, then back to the stove with sugar and what-all, cooked to just the right jelly stage before bottling. And then the joy of another batch of fresh jelly to consume.
When the guava crop was good, there were too many fruit. She would cook and freeze the juice, to be pulled out during the off-season. Little was wasted, although the birds did get their share.
My sister was the keeper of the recipe and the process after my mom died. Now she’s gone, and I’m left with the recipe. And it’s a recipe that started when my mom was studying food and nutrition in the home economics department at the University of Hawaii in the 1930s. Her recipes changed over the years as she figured out that the chemistry of modern ingredients was different, and tried to adjust for those effects. So to say this is a time tested recipe would be an understatement.
I guess it’s time to plant another guava tree and give this a try.