Sunday, September 12, 2010

Old Dog, New Fruit: Pawpaws

I'm the Old Dog.

This years has brought me several firsts, culinarily (is that a word?) speaking.  Elderberries come to mind, as well as homemade mince meat filling; and now: Paw Paws.  It seems ironic to me that an indigenous fruit, spread by native Americans, is more foreign to this lifelong Pennsylvanian than the non-native and ubiquitous banana (to which it bears a strong similarity in taste, if not texture).  I haven't seen any local banana trees; but then again, I haven't seen any local pawpaw trees either.  This may be because I wasn't aware of what to look for.  Thanks to my local farmers market, I'm a convert. If I can't find 'em, I'll grow 'em.

That's one ugly fruit.
You have to admit, it doesn't look entirely enticing.  It looks like a small, soft potato.  The flesh looks slightly bruised, and the good ones (as in RIPE) look downright rotten.  Think persimmons, or mangoes; they need to be ripe.  My farmer sold me two of them today recommending that I eat the uglier one first, and I did; it was heavenly.  Banana custard, with a sweet, smooth finish is the best I can describe it.  Creme brulee is one of my infrequent guilty pleasures; this has that same texture, but the flavor is more tropical. The second fruit, which you see in the photograph, was less ripe, less ugly, and less sweet...but still wonderful.

But oh, so delicious!
When you cut them open,you have to dodge the large seeds (mine are going into my freezer, for planting in the spring, if I can still find them).  Just slurp out the soft flesh and spit out the seeds watermelon style.  Yum.  There are lots of good images on the web, if you want photographs.  I downloaded a few for myself, but don't want to violate copyright laws so I'll just point you to this URL for  information:; check out google images for real life pictures.  And since I know they're ripe in our area, I'll be going pawpaw hunting this week.  I'll let you know what I find.  And while I'm hunting, I'll be singing THIS song to myself.

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