Punch drunk on guava jelly

Photograph of cherry guavas and flowers

Cherry guavas and flowers from the kitchen garden at Vaucluse House, September 2015. Photo Helen Curran © Sydney Living Museums

There’s a special pleasure in tasting a fruit straight from the tree. Just a few months ago, the cherry guavas in the kitchen garden at Vaucluse House were tiny, unpromising-looking green orbs. This week, the first of them ripened: little rose-coloured marbles of sweet-tart deliciousness, each a perfect mouthful – and the perfect ingredient for a clear fruit jelly.

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Sea captains and shaddock jam

Citrus maxima, or shaddock (detail), colour plate from B Hoola van Nooten, Fleurs, fruits et feuillages choisis de l’ille de Java: peints d’après nature, 1880. Image courtesy Missouri Botanic Garden

In the winter months, you’ll see them dangling from the branches of a tree at the bottom of the kitchen garden at Vaucluse House, by the compost heap, like bright baubles. These days, the shaddock (also known as pomelo or pumello) is less well-known than oranges and grapefruit. But in colonial Australia, this outsized citrus was a thing of wonder. Continue reading