The first time I heard of the elusive guava fruit was when I stayed in Hawaii over Christmas with my family as a kid. The hotel had a limitless supply of guava juice downstairs in the lobby that anyone could help themselves to, so obviously, I did multiple times a day. And I loved it! But in case you've never tried the tropical fruit before, let's answer the question of: "What is guava?" And how you can get some guava juice of your own.

What is Guava?

Guava is a tropical fruit roughly the size of a tennis ball. The skin of the guava is either green or yellowish-green, while the flesh is a reddish-pink when it's ripe (which would explain the pink color of my childhood guava juice). The taste of the fruit is like a cross between a strawberry and pear or kiwi. Think of those fun fruit cocktails you'd make as a kid mixing juices like lemonade and pineapple together.

A guava's calorie count comes in somewhere between 50 and 112 calories when you eat the whole fruit. And while you can buy them at your grocery store year-round, they are at their most delightful during the summer.

Origins of Guava

Guava is a fruit that lacks specifics regarding its origin. However, it's believed to be in an area extending from Southern Mexico into or through Central America. Man, birds, and other animals have spread the guava throughout the warm areas of tropical America and the West Indies since 1526.

Health Benefits of Guava

What helps make guava the "ultimate tropical fruit" are its multitude of health benefits including that it's an immunity booster, helps to relieve stress and stabilize weight, and benefits your skincare regimen. Thank you, natural wonder of the fruit world.

But guavas also more than satisfy your daily Vitamin C requirement, as they contain 628 (yes, 628) percent of your daily requirement. The fruit satisfies 21 percent of your Vitamin A and 20 percent of your folate daily necessities, too. And as far as minerals are concerned, guava provides 20 percent of your daily suggested intake of potassium.

How to Pick Guava

Go for the guava that is more yellowish-green than light green, because that is when the fruit is ripest. You can always buy the green ones and play the waiting game for them to ripen by putting them on your kitchen counter. Once they're ripe, store them in the fridge for up to two days. Also, the softer they are, the better. But that also means the nearer they are to perishable status, so eat them quickly! Or freeze them for up to eight months.

How to Eat Guava

When they're ready to go, you can eat your guava by scooping out the seeds and insides, eating the whole fruit rind and all, or cutting them into slices and serving them with yogurt, ice cream, or on their own. Or of course, make your own variation of guava juice that might not be as good as the memory of the one that Hawaiian hotel concocted, but it'll suffice, surely.

And there you have it. What is guava? Nothing more than a healthy and colorful tropical fruit you should include in your diet more. Check out the produce section at your local Ralph's and pick one to take home with you. It is summer, after all, and most importantly, peak guava season.