The Koinonia Foundation

Grants Review Committee

19468 Manchester Dr.

Rehoboth Beach, DE 19971

Guava Jam From Sri Lanka

Preserving Guava Jam in Sri Lanka

Preethi Burkholder, Project Director

Koinonia Foundation, Maryland, USA, awarded the Rajarata Praja Kendraya Organization (RPK), Kekirawa, Sri Lanka, a grant to preserve guava jam. Preethi Burkholder, was the project director and worked with the staff and volunteers of RPK to make the guava jam project a success.

Sheila Ratnayake, Director of RPK, was extremely helpful in organizing 300 women from Kekirawa to participate in the project and to market the product at the grassroots level during the first three months.

Preethis husband Trent Burkholder’s encouragement and support kept motivation up for all throughout the project. His photographs which are included in this report provide visual representation of what happened in the field.

Preethi Burkholder – Project Documentation

Some Interesting Facts About Guava

Guava is native to the warm regions of the Americas, stretching from Mexico to Peru. It is a fruit that belongs to the Myrtacae family. Guava grows successfully in tropical and sub-tropical climate zones.

Although the guava plant was domesticated more than 2,000 years ago, it was not until 1526 that the first commercial cultivation of guava was reported.

Guava is sweet when ripe. The more ripe the fruit, the more tender the flesh becomes. Guava trees grow in every part of Sri Lanka. it is mostly a volunteer plant and grows in the jungles.

Guava has many uses for Sri Lankans. Ripe guava fruit is an excellent source of ascorbic acid (Vitamin C) and dietary fiber. The Vitamin C available in guava is two to three times higher than what is available in fresh orange juice.

Guava is also a good source of Vitamin A, phosphorous, calcium, iron, thiamine and niacin. Guava fruits roots, leaves, and bark are used in local Sri Lankan medicine for treating diarrhea and dysentery.

What We Did

Step 1- Picking the Guava Fruits

From March 2004-June 2004, 300 women participated on the guava jam project. Most of them earned an income by selling fresh guavas to our organization, Rajarata Praja Kendraya (RPK). Women went to the jungles and plucked guava fruits during the high season.

For ten medium sized guavas, RPK paid $0.50 (50 Sri Lankan Rupees). During the fruit season in Kekirawa, which is from March to June, the average farmer was able to earn $2 a day from selling guavas to RPK.

Step 2- Making Guava Jam

Basic Recipe for Making Two Cups of Guava Jam

6 ripe, but firm medium sized guavas

2 cups of white granulated sugar

1 cup sugar

We used a large 10 quart pot, which would allow even heat distribution and volume control to boil the guavas. Each person took turns to chop the guava into bite size pieces. We boiled them in water for ten minutes until the guava became soft.

Next we Crushed the guava with a spatula and pureed it through a blender. For every one cup of chopped guava, we added 3/4 cups of white granulated sugar. Sugar acts as a preservative because bacteria cannot live in a high sugar medium. After sugar was added, we heated it for an additional five minutes.

The next part of preparation was to test the jam for setting. We tested the jam by dropping a spoonful on a cold saucer. If it wrinkled in the saucer, then the jam was ready to be poured into jars. If it thinned out, we heated it for five more minutes until it thickened.

Step 3- Sterilizing Yogurt Cups

Although glass jars would have been ideal to pour the jam, we chose yogurt cups because they were cheaper and lighter to handle. A yogurt up costs $0.02 (2 Sri Lankan Rupees) where as a glass jar costs $0.20 (20 Sri Lankan Rupees). The first step was to wash the yogurt cups fairly vigorously for 10 minutes and keep them in boiling water until we were ready to use them. Using tongs, we held the yogurt cups upside down to drain away the water. We boiled them again before filling.

Step 4- Pouring Jam

Immediately, we filled the warmed cups with hot preserves to within 1/8 inch headspace of the top. Headspace is the pocket of air between the top of the jam in the cup and the underside of the rim that allows the jam to expand as it heats during processing. Headspace forms a protective vacuum when the cup has cooled.

We wiped the rims with a clean cloth to ensure they are dry and let the jam sit for twelve hours without moving. Once the jam had set, we checked the cups for cracks and leaks. The final step was to seal the cups with lids and to label the price.

Step 5- Marketing the Product

To our knowledge, currently there is only one government organization that sells guava jam in Sri Lanka, the Marketing Department. A 500 gram mixed fruit jam jar is sold at Rs.120 ($1.20). This is too expensive for the average Sri Lankan to afford.

We marketed our product by pouring small quantities into yogurt cups and pricing them at 10 Rupees ($0.10). We found that there was great demand for the small size yogurt cups because they were in financial range of the average Sri Lankan.

Hiring a vehicle to distribute the jam to individual homes and local stores was too expensive for RPK. We found the solution to the problem by using a bullock cart to transport the jam. The bullock cart belonged to one of the women involved with jam making.

The only expense involved was to feed the cow with grass. Daily, we spent two hours marketing the product in Kekirawa and managed to sell an average of 50 cups. Our daily income therefore was 500 rupees ($5) during the fruit season.

The money was distributed as salary payments to women who worked at the production facility and to buy fresh guavas from the locals.

The Future of Guava Jam Making in Kekirawa, Sri Lanka

There is a growing market for guava jam in Sri Lanka. If properly used, Guava jam can become a staple ingredient in desserts. Women need to be exposed to variations of foods that can be made with guava jam.

Our future plans are to experiment with cakes made with guava jam, guava truffles, guava-flavored yogurt, guava ice-cream, and guava squares.

RPK hopes to continue the guava jam project upon the time duration of the grant. We would like to create a commercial production facility for the guava jam making industry and market our product at the national level.

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