Vanilla poached guava recipe

Stewed guava top_small

Winter is descending on Cape Town and that means guava season! Guavas (also known as Koejawel in Afrikaans) were brought to South Africa by the Portuguese in the 19th century and have become a feature in many South African homes in the form of guava juice or canned guavas. I received a handful of fresh guavas earlier this week and decided to try my hand at gently stewing them. This poached guava recipe is very simple and is great served hot or cold, for dessert or breakfast, or simply for a sweet treat.



  • 5 guavas, peeled and halved
  • 2½ cups water (or enough to just cover the guavas)
  • ½ to ¾  cups sugar (light brown sugar gives a nice hint of caramel)
  • 1 whole cinnamon quill
  • 1 star anise
  • splash of vanilla essence (or a vanilla pod)


  1. Place all ingredients into a saucepan, making sure that the guavas are just covered in water
  2. Bring to boil, stirring gently until all the sugar has dissolved
  3. Simmer for about 5 mins, or until guavas are just soft – be careful as they go mushy quickly!
  4. Remove from heat and allow to cool (I like to remove the fruit from the poaching liquid and reduce the poaching liquid a little further)
  5. Serve with custard or a dollop of plain yoghurt.

6 thoughts on “Vanilla poached guava recipe”

  1. This syrup is ridiculously good. Trying this recipe out. Looking forward to eating it cold tomorrow with custard!

  2. We have white fleshed guavas which I’m cooking up as i type this. Your pink guavas look stunning. (time passes)-I’m now waiting for them to cool. (more time passes)-Oh, my, so yummy. I substituted maple sugar and put in extra vanilla. Thanks for helping me enjoy guavas for the very first time.

    • Thank you for noting this! It is indeed 1/2 cup. This makes a nice syrupy poaching liquid, but you can use less if you prefer.


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