I recently finished harvesting my crop of Ugni molinae, or Chilean Guava berries. I was given my first plant as a gift and wasn't all that impressed with its boxwood-esque look. Little did I know what deliciousness awaited. Once the tiny red berries start to ripen, the heady-sweet-fruity aroma will bowl you over. I planted a foundation hedge of Ugnis and this year my entire front yard smelled so sweet with the ripening berries. The taste is hard to describe. The best I can manage is strawberry/blueberry with hints of cinnamon and vanilla. It's good.
It is said that Queen Victoria's favorite jam was made from Ugni berries. I got a large enough crop for only about one jar of jam but decided to go for it anyway. I couldn't find a recipe anywhere on the web so I had to wing it. The berries are kind of dry so I added water with the sugar. Things were going well and it was beginning to set up when I realized I hadn't sterilized my jars (jar). Rushing to do that I let the sugar crystalize so my jam became candied Ugni berries instead. Oh well! I've been sprinkling them on granola, bowls of ice cream and I'm thinking about making a pumpkin/Ugni bread. So many uses! And next year I'll perfect the jam and we'll see what Queen Victoria was so wild about.