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Arrayan fruits are rounded and petite, measuring only 1 to 2 ½ centimeters in diameter. Their exterior skin will turn from bright green when immature to yellow when fully ripe. Each berry contains 1 to 5 small, angular shaped, yellow seeds. Arrayan fruits can be eaten whole seeds and all and offer an acidic, sweet-sour taste and juicy texture, similar to that of guava.
Arrayan fruit is available late fall through the early spring.
Also known as Sartre guava, the Arrayan fruit is botanically known as part of Psidium sartorianum and a member of the Myrtaceae family. The Arrayan fruit grows on perennial or deciduous trees and shrubs and botanically is considered a berry though it is used culinarily as a guava. Not only is the fruit of the tree utilized but the wood of the tree is valued as well for its hardiness and is used in the construction of houses, furniture, and railroads.
Arrayan fruit is high in vitamin C, ash, and crude fiber. They also offer a significant amount of tannins and phytic acid which are often thought of as anti-nutrients though studies indicate that the anti-nutritional content of Arrayan fruit could potentially be helpful in prevention of certain infectious diseases and cancers. Additionally, studies have shown that extracts of the fruit have antibacterial, antifungal, and antiparasitic properties. The leaves of the Arrayan plant are used in parts of Mexico to treat various ailments related to gastrointestinal distress. The pureed fruit is also used topically in the treatment of skin wounds.
Arrayan fruit can be used fresh, dried, or preserved as a jam. When fresh the fruit can be eaten whole as a snack or added to fruit and green salads. They can be cooked down to make preserves and syrups. Arrayan can be juiced to make a beverage of agua fresca. In Mexico, Arrayan fruits are used in production of commercially sold foods such as candy, popsicles, and flavored beverages. The fruit is also processed and sold as a frozen food and dried fruit product. To store keep fresh Arrayan in a cool, dry place and use within a week of harvest.
In Puerto Vallarta the restaurant El Arrayan is named after this famed fruit. The owner was inspired by childhood trips to Guadalajara where she first learned of the unique fruit. The restaurant boasts an Arrayan tree in its courtyard as well as several Arrayan based beverages on the menu.
Arrayan fruit is indigenous to Mexico. It can be found growing today predominantly in tropical to sub-tropical regions of South America, Central America, Cuba, and Mexico. There are also a handful of trees located in Southern California. The trees can grow in a variety of different soils ranging from clay to sand and prefer full sun with just slight shade. Once trees are established, they are fairly drought tolerant.
Recipes that include Arrayan. One is easiest, three is harder.
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