To me, cherry guavas are quintessential Santa Barbara, bringing a burst of fall color to our coastal landscape. Technically these plants are shrubs, but that designation doesn’t do them justice. The cherries, when ripe, resemble mini pomegranates, and the branches offer a gorgeous pop of deep wine-red color against a beautiful green backdrop.
It’s such a pleasure to harvest cherry guavas. Hard to believe that most people aren’t aware that these little gems are edible. Their flavor is superb, perhaps the best of all types of guavas, packing a punch that is tart and sweet at the same time, with a faintly floral taste. This time of year I always head straight from the garden to the kitchen to whip up cherry guava sorbets and sauces, cobblers and jams, even syrup for cocktails (make sure you strain out the seeds). All of these goodies not only taste delicious but look absolutely beautiful, too.
A sprig from a cherry guava plant can provide wonderful texture to fall bouquets; they also look beautiful tucked on a platter for our Thanksgiving turkey and can make that mid-week roast chicken look pretty spiffy, too.