Guavaberry trees (myrciaria floribunda) can be found growing wild on various islands throughout the Caribbean. Guavaberry is similar to guava (myrtaceae) only in that both are tropical fruit trees with smooth bark. Unlike guava, guavaberry is rare and not commercially grown.
Guavaberry (aka rumberry) is primarily known in the Caribbean for making rum. Early settlers from Denmark and Holland infused their rum with guavaberry to create an appealing taste. They also were unknowingly infusing themselves with much needed vitamin C.
Local islanders have a long tradition of brewing their special recipe for guavaberry wine for Christmas. In addition to guavaberries and rum, guavaberry wine is brewed with raisins, prunes, vanilla, sorrel (a red drink made from the sorrel hibiscus), cinnamon and other secret spices. The tangy sweet flavor of guavaberry can also be found in local pies, jams and ice cream. To try these guavaberry treats, eye local menus carefully or be lucky enough to know a native Virgin Islander with the goods!
Learn more about the history of St. John and surrounding islands from the St. John Historical Society.