When can babies eat guava?
Firm types of guava, as long as they are cooked until soft, may be introduced as soon as baby is ready to start solids, which is generally around 6 months of age. There are hundreds of guava varieties in the world, and they vary widely in texture and consistency, which means they will vary widely in terms of choking risk. From the soft and smooth Mexican Cream guava to the firm, apple-like white guavas, take care to consider any characteristics that might increase the risk of choking (firmness, roundness, slipperiness) or aspiration (loose seeds). For information on soft guava varieties, see guava (soft). Looking for pineapple guava? See feijoa.
Origins of guava
Guava originated in the tropics of the Americas, where the Arawak people learned to harvest the plant that they called guayabo for its delicious fruit. As colonization and trade took guava seeds to South Asia and other parts of the world, the fruit proliferated in dry and humid climates alike, an evolutionary leap that led to hundreds of varieties grown today, all going by the same botanical name. Some guavas are sweet, others are sour, and each has edible skin that ranges from creamy white to lime green to golden pink to crimson. Size ranges, too: there are guavas that are as large as a grapefruit, while others are shaped like a pear. There are even guavas that are so tiny that adults can eat them in one bite like a grape.
Firm varieties of guava (also known as amrood, farang, jambu batu, trái ổi, and more) tend to be large, with a thin, pale green skin and crisp flesh inside. Even when ripe, these types of guava remain firm, and their mildly sweet flesh has a similar texture to apple. Throughout Asia, guava is eaten fresh and on its own (and often a bit underripe), julienned and eaten in salads, and—a common preparation at street vendors—sliced thinly and dusted with a flavorful mixture of salt and chili powder.
Is guava healthy for babies?
Yes. Guava is loaded with nutrients babies need to fuel their rapid growth. Guava offers fiber, B-vitamins (including vitamin B6 and folate), vitamin E, and potassium. The fruit is also packed with vitamin C to help the body build connective tissue, promote a healthy immune system, and absorb iron from plant-based foods. In fact, guava contains more than four times as much vitamin C as an orange. That’s not all: guava also contains a healthy dose of plant-based omega 3 fatty acids to support brain and visual health. Guava is rich in polyphenols, which are beneficial plant nutrients that, in this case, are antioxidative, anti-cancerous, anti-microbial, and anti-inflammatory.1 2 3 Finally, guava is also an excellent source of fiber, specifically insoluble fiber, which is great for poop but can cause gas and bloating if too much is consumed.4 5 For this reason, it may be best to start slow and gradually increase the amount offered.
★Tip: As it ripens, a guava will develop an intense aroma. Note that firm types of guava won’t soften much, even when ripe, so use the fruit’s smell as the first indicator. Store unripe guava at room temperature until ripe, then transfer to the refrigerator, where the fruit keeps for about a week.
Is guava a common choking hazard for babies?
Yes. Raw guava can be a choking hazard, especially the firm or crunchy cultivars. The fruit’s edible seeds can be tricky to manage and may also present an aspiration risk. To minimize the risk, scoop out and discard any seeds and pay attention to the fruit’s texture. The firm, apple-like guavas should be deseeded, skinned, and cooked until soft before serving to babies. As always, make sure to create a safe eating environment and stay within arm’s reach of baby at mealtime.
Is guava a common allergen?
No. Allergies to guava and guava byproducts (such as guava leaf) are rare, but have been reported.6 Individuals with allergies to latex may be sensitive to guava.7 Individuals with Oral Allergy Syndrome who are allergic to birch pollen may be sensitive to guava.8 9 Oral Allergy Syndrome typically results in short-lived itching, tingling, or burning in the mouth and is unlikely to result in a dangerous reaction. Fortunately, peeling or cooking the fruit can help minimize or even eliminate the reaction.10 11
As you would do when introducing any new food, start by offering a small amount for the first few servings. If there is no adverse reaction, gradually increase the amount served over future meals.
How do you introduce firm guavas to babies with baby-led weaning?
Every baby develops on their own timeline, and the suggestions on how to cut or prepare particular foods are generalizations for a broad audience. Your child is an individual and may have needs or considerations beyond generally accepted practices. In determining the recommendations for size and shape of foods, we use the best available scientific information regarding gross, fine, and oral motor development to minimize choking risk. The preparation suggestions we offer are for informational purposes only and are not a substitute for child-specific, one-on-one advice from your pediatric medical or health professional or provider. It is impossible to fully eliminate all risk of a baby or child choking on any liquid, puree, or food. We advise you to follow all safety protocols we suggest to create a safe eating environment and to make educated choices for your child regarding their specific needs. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read or seen here.
6 to 9 months old: Cut the guava in half and scoop out and discard its seeds and go ahead and peel the citrusy skin if you’d like. If the fruit is firm like an apple or underripe pear, simply steam, poach or bake the deseeded guava halves or quarter pieces until easily pierced by a fork. If you’d like to serve raw guava at this age, play it safe: grate the flesh into a bowl that suctions to the table for baby to hand scoop from. Feel free to dust the guava with plum powder, spices, and even a scant amount of chili powder, but refrain from serving guava with salt or sugar and avoid preserved guava products like jam, jelly, paste, or syrup.
9 to 18 months old: Continue serving deseeded halves or quarter pieces of cooked guava. If you’d like to explore offering raw guava, play it safe and offer thin slices of deseeded guava or continue grating. If the guava you have is soft and ripe, you can cut it into thin, round slices with or without the skin. Explore dusting the fruit with plum powder, spices, and even a scant amount of chili powder, but refrain from serving guava with salt or sugar and avoid preserved guava products like jam, jelly, paste, or syrup.
18 to 24 months old: At this age, you can experiment with using fresh guava in smoothies, slicing it into thin slices or grating it and combining with other age-appropriate fruits or vegetables for a guava salad. You can also continue to serve cooked guava in any size. If the child’s eating skills are sufficiently advanced (taking accurately sized bites, chewing well and not overstuffing), you can consider offering a whole guava with or without the skin. Offering a whole guava can actually be safer (as opposed to sections of raw guava that break off more easily) as toddlers can’t take as big of bites from a whole guava as they can from, say, a quartered guava. If your child is struggling with the skin, simply peel the guava, or peel in “stripes” so that some skin is left on for exposure. Lastly, if you’d like to sprinkle a little salt on the fruit, go ahead and do so at this age. Just keep tabs on overall sodium intake and read up on the impact of sodium in the diet.
24 months old and up: By age 2 most typically developing toddlers will be ready for large sections of raw, firm guava, such as a quartered piece. These large sections of guava can be riskier than a whole guava, so wait until you observe your child to be ready. If you feel your child is not ready for that step yet, you can continue to slice guava thinly or cook until soft. As always, stay within an arm’s reach during mealtime and refrain from offering guavas in strollers or car seats.
If you are stuck in a puffs and pouches rut, check out our snack guide for 100 healthy and easy ideas for babies and toddlers.
Recipe: Steamed Guava with Spices
Yield: 1 cup (170 grams)
Cooking Time: 20 minutes
Age: 6 months+
- 1 guava, firm variety (180 grams)
- 1 cup (240 milliliters) water
- 1 pinch cayenne pepper, cumin, cinnamon, or spice of choice (optional)
- Wash, dry, and peel the guava. Discard the peel. Cut off and discard the blossom and stem ends, then halve the fruit. Scoop out and discard the seeds. Cut the guava halves into quarters.
- Place the guava quarters and water in a pot set on medium heat. Cover and bring to a boil, then turn down the heat and simmer until the guava quarters are soft, about 10 minutes.
- Use a sieve or slotted spoon to transfer the guava quarters from the water to a cutting board and cool to room temperature. Discard the cooking water or reserve for another use, like your next smoothie or glass of tea.
- If you like, sprinkle a pinch of spice on the guava quarters to add flavor. The sweet taste of guava pairs well with lots of different spices so choose whichever spice you feel most comfortable serving. For a bold kick, add a pinch of cayenne, some lime juice, or your favorite hot pepper – a popular flavor pairing in South Asian cooking. If you prefer, you can always skip the spice and serve the steamed guava on its own.
- Offer some guava quarters and let the child self-feed with hands. Exact serving size is variable. Let a child’s appetite determine how much is eaten.
To Store: Steamed guava keeps in an air-tight container in the fridge for 1 week.
Guava tastes mildly sweet, and that mildness makes it very versatile. Try pairing guava with sweeter fruits like banana, cherry, mango, nectarine, pear, peach, or watermelon to balance the acidity or play up the sweet-tart flavor by offering similarly tangy fruits like apple, blueberry, kiwi, papaya, passion fruit, pineapple, raspberry, star fruit (carambola), or strawberry. With its citrusy flavor, think of guava as a tool to cut the richness in meats like beef, bison, lamb, or pork and brighten the nuttiness of grains like Khorasan wheat, quinoa, or rice. Like all fruits, guava also tastes delicious with creamy foods like avocado, coconut, mascarpone cheese, quark, ricotta cheese, and yogurt.
J. Truppi, MSN, CNS
V. Kalami, MNSP, RD, CSP
K. Rappaport, OTR/L, MS, SCFES, IBCLC
S. Bajowala, MD, FAAAAI. Board-Certified Allergist & Immunologist (allergy section)
R. Ruiz, MD, FAAP. Board-Certified General Pediatrician & Pediatric Gastroenterologist
- Liu, H.C., Chiang, C.C., Lin, C.H., Chen, C.S., Wei, C.W., et al.. (2020). Anti-cancer therapeutic benefit of red guava extracts as a potential therapy in combination with doxorubicin or targeted therapy for triple-negative breast cancer cells. International journal of medical sciences, 17(8), 1015–1022. DOI:10.7150/ijms.40131. Retrieved July 2, 2021.
- Ravi, K., Divyashree, P. (2014). Psidium guajava: A review on its potential as an adjunct in treating periodontal disease. Pharmacognosy reviews, 8(16), 96–100. DOI:10.4103/0973-7847.134233. Retrieved July 2, 2021.
- McCook-Russell, K.P., Nair, M.G., Facey, P.C., Bowen-Forbes, C.S. (2012). Nutritional and nutraceutical comparison of Jamaican Psidium cattleianum (strawberry guava) and Psidium guajava (common guava) fruits. Food Chem. 2012 Sep 15;134(2):1069-73. DOI:10.1016/j.foodchem.2012.03.018. Retrieved July 2, 2021.
- Jiménez-Escrig A, Rincón M, Pulido R, Saura-Calixto F. (2001). Guava fruit (Psidium guajava L.) as a new source of antioxidant dietary fiber. J Agric Food Chem, 49(11):5489-5493. DOI: 10.1021/jf010147p. Retrieved July 29, 2021.
- Angulo-López, JE et al. (2021). Guava (Psidium guajava L.) Fruit and Valorization of Industrialization By-Products. Processes, 9,1075. DOI: 10.3390/pr9061075. Retrieved July 29, 2021.
- Obi, M., Miyazaki, Y., Yokozeki, H., Nishioka, K. (2001). Allergic contact dermatitis due to guava tea. Contact dermatitis, 44(2), 116–117. https://doi.org/10.1034/j.1600-0536.2001.44020917.x . Retrieved July 2, 2021.
- Blanco, C. (2000). The Latex Syndrome: A Review of Clinical Features. Internet Symposium on Food Allergens, 2(3). Retrieved July 2, 2021.
- Erikkson, N.E., Werner, S., Foucard, T., Moller, C., Berg, T., et al. (2003). Self-reported hypersensitivity to exotic fruit in birch pollen-allergic patients. Allergology International, (2003) 52, 199–206. Retrieved July 2, 2021.
- American Academy of Allergy Asthma & Immunology. Oral Allergy Syndrome (OAS) or Pollen Fruit Syndrome (PFS). Retrieved July 12, 2021.
- Nowak-Regrzyn, A. (2021). Patient Education: Oral Allergy Syndrome (Beyond the Basics). Up to Date. Retrieved June 14, 2021.
- Kids With Food Allergies: A Division of the Allergy and Asthma Foundation of America. Retrieved July 2, 2021.