Organic guava extract
The fruit of the guava (Psidium guajava L.) is a popular fruit in its countries of origin and cultivation and is mostly eaten raw. The fruits are peeled and then eaten out of hand. In Asia, people like them sprinkled with cinnamon sugar. Because of its delicious, sweet and sour and very aromatic scent, the guava is also used to prepare jams, sweets, chutneys and desserts. Many multivitamin juices contain the juice of the fruit. The guava is full of valuable ingredients, which is why it is often referred to as “superfood”. The guava also plays a role in traditional medicine in many cultures. At BERTRAND, we use organic guava extract mainly because of the high vitamin content.
The origin of our guava extract
The evergreen guava tree is native to tropical and subtropical America. According to studies, this is where the so-called “gene center” is located, which means that this is where the wild form of the plant shows its greatest variety of forms. Nowadays, neophytic (“imported”) occurrences exist in many countries where they were not previously native – even in Sicily. The organic guavas for our guava extract come from India and Malaysia. Here, guavas of the “Java Apple” variety are grown in particular, which are characterised by a firm yet juicy consistency and score with a rather sour and refreshing taste. Our suppliers work according to the specifications of the European ecological guidelines and standards. This guarantees the high quality that we expect from all of our ingredients.
How is guava extract made?
Depending on the country of origin, the guava has many different names, such as Jambu bijii, Fan shi liu, Fan tao, Farang or Goiba. The fruits, which are also known as “quinces of the tropics”, differ, depending on the variety, mainly in the color of their pulp. It appears white, white-greenish, pink, yellow or reddish and the ripe fruits smell wonderfully exotic. The taste exhibits nuances of quince, pear and fig when fully ripe. Unripe fruits are very sour and have an astringent (furry) effect in the mouth.
TEMPERATURES BETWEEN 20 AND 30 °C
The guava is an adaptable plantation fruit. This explains why they are now widespread. The guava tree can be up to 10 meters high and it belongs to the myrtle family. The white, delicately scented flowers give rise to egg, ball or pear-shaped berries when the plants are two to four years old. The cultivation works at the height of up to 2,100 meters, but the guava prefers to grow in locations up to 1,500 meters. It likes temperatures between 20 and 30 °C, but can also withstand light frosts. The cultivation of the fruit is made more difficult because of the oriental fruit fly, whose larvae can ruin entire harvests. In conventional cultivation, the plants are therefore sprayed practically every week. In organic farming, this is countered by a very complex process: plastic bags are drawn around the fruit to prevent infestation.
READY TO PICK IN 3-4 MONTHS
The guava grows all year round under optimal conditions and depending on the type. The fruits are ready to pick three to four months after flowering. Then the previously waxy, pale green skin has a yellowish or reddish color and the fruits give off an intense floral scent. The pulp can have small lignified kernels and seeds that can be eaten. Guavas are often harvested unripe for export, as they can only be kept for a few days after being picked and are very sensitive to pressure. However, the fruits continue to ripen. At the age of six to eight years, the guava tree has reached its full output and yields around 120 kilograms per year.
THE DRIED FRUITS ARE GROUNDED INTO POWDER
We need the organic guava extract for the BERTRAND drinkable meals. According to the European Pharmacopoeia, extracts are “preparations of a liquid, semi-solid or solid consistency …”. We need the solid consistency for our products, i.e. a dry extract. It is made using the freeze-drying process. The food, in this case the guava fruit, is first frozen very quickly and gently in special freeze-drying machines. A large part of the water is then extracted from the frozen fruit in the vacuum chamber. The water evaporates during this process. Vitamins and taste are practically completely retained. After freeze-drying, the dried fruits are ground to a fine powder with the help of grinding tools and at low temperatures. Auxiliaries and additives such as preservatives or the like are not used in accordance with organic guidelines.
The fruit of the guava is extremely rich in vital substances. For our BERTRAND drinkable meals, we give particular importance to the vitamins of the B complex, which are supplied by the organic guava extract. But let’s first look at the general nutritional values of the exotic fruit:
Guavas provide only 34 kilocalories per 100 grams of fresh fruit. This makes them one of the fruits with the lowest calories and in this respect they are comparable to watermelons or strawberries. When drying, the energy density increases four to six times. However, since powder weighs little, the amount consumed is much lower. So proportionately only a few “guava calories” find their way into our products.
The fresh fruit contains almost 84 percent water. This is practically completely removed from the fruit by freeze-drying and subsequent grinding.
The carbohydrate content of guava is 5.82 percent and consists of around 60 percent fructose and almost 40 percent glucose.
The protein content of 100 grams of fruit is around 1.0 percent on average. It contains all eight essential and almost all non-essential amino acids.
Guava fruits have a fat content of only 0.5 percent. But this also includes the valuable omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids. Linoleic and linolenic acids, which are also included, are considered good for skin and hair.
Of the 5.2 percent fiber in guava, the pectins should be especially emphasized. Pectins swell in the stomach and ensure a long-lasting satiety effect. Fiber is important for the digestive organs to function properly. Together with essential oils, secondary plant substances (such as cell-protecting lycopene) and tannins, organic guava extract is a nutritional supplement that with its vital substances and nutrients is really impressive.
Guava in natural medicine and cosmetics
Guavas are considered medicinal plants in many of their countries of origin. Pharmacological studies show that, for example, the leaves of the guava plant can have antibiotic, antioxidant and antiallergenic effects. As a brew, the leaves are still used today by the Amazon Indians against gastrointestinal complaints (diarrhea, nausea, vomiting). Clinical studies prove the healing effect with these problems. When chewed raw, the young leaves are said to combat bleeding gums and bad breath. In TCM (Traditional Chinese Medicine), a narcotic is made from guava leaves. Sometimes the effects of leaves and bark are even described as morphine-like.
Extracts from guava are widely used in cosmetics. Massage oils, sun care products, facial tonics, lip gloss and general care products contain guava extracts. Their bioactive antioxidants are supposed to protect the skin from free radicals and harmful environmental influences. By-products and residues such as peel, seeds or pulp from fruit processing are often used. According to the Fraunhofer Institute for Process Engineering and Packaging (IVV), this is an interesting source of secondary plant substances that may have their effects in cosmetic products.
- Image at the top of the page: Sutana4 via Shutterstock
- Map of Asia: cash1994 via Shutterstock
- Post image, guavas on white background: Anna Kucherova via Shutterstock