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The Pawpaw can range in size but typically averages about 3-6 inches long, and is about the size of a human fist. Some have said the Pawpaw looks like a cross between a mango and a green potato. The skin color of ripe fruit on the tree ranges from green to yellow, and dark spots may appear, similar to bananas. The skin of harvested fruit may darken to brown or black. When ripe the flesh will be yellow in color, have a strong, sweet, pleasant aroma, custard-like in texture with dark brown to black colored seeds. The flavor of a Pawpaw is rich with tropical tasting notes of banana, coconut, papaya, pineapple, and mango.
Pawpaws are available in the late summer and autumn months.
The botanical name for the Pawpaw is Asimina triliba and is also commonly known as Paw Paw, Poor Man’s banana, American custard apple, and the Kentucky banana. The Pawpaw is the largest edible fruit known to be native to America. It is believed that Pawpaws originated in the southeastern United States and have slowly migrated to overseas countries. Celebrating this history, Albany, Ohio hosts the Annual Ohio Pawpaw Festival, typically held in September each year. Kentucky State University has the only full-time Pawpaw research program in the world, and is the site of the Pawpaw National Clonal Germplasm Repository.
Ripe Pawpaws will appear plump, similar to a mango and will be soft and thin skinned. Ripeness can be deduced by squeezing gently, similar to how you would judge the ripeness of a peach. Pawpaws are frequently consumed fresh, out of hand, but also make excellent additions in cakes, pies, custards, preserves and breads. Ice cream and sorbet are also popular uses for the fruit. Ripe Pawpaw flesh, with skin and seeds removed, can be pureed and frozen for later use. The flavor and custard-like texture make Pawpaws a good substitute for bananas in almost any recipe. The ripe fruit is very perishable with a shelf life of 2 or 3 days, but will keep up to 2 weeks if it is refrigerated at 40° - 45° F. If stored, allow Pawpaws to finish ripening at room temperature.
The Pawpaw is still enjoyed across America today, most frequently in rural areas, with a new focus on developing the fruit to be a viable commercial product. The Pawpaw has held a storied place in American culture boasting to be the favorite dessert of George Washington, relied on by noted explorers Lewis and Clark, enjoyed by Daniel Boone and Mark Twain, and showcased by Thomas Jefferson. Recently Professor of Pharmacognosy, Jerry McLaughlin, has been researching the presence of acetogenins found in the tree bark, fruit and leaves of the Pawpaw tree in hopes to find an influential role in cancer treatments.
The Pawpaw is one of the largest fruit trees native to America, believing to have originated in the southeastern United States. The American Indian is credited with spreading the Pawpaw across the eastern U.S. to eastern Kansas and Texas, and from the Great Lakes, almost to the Gulf. The Pawpaw has an established presence in American history, and is chronicled in the journals of Lewis and Clark as a source of sustenance during their travels. Even Thomas Jefferson had Pawpaw trees at his home, Monticello, and had seeds shipped to friends in France. The Pawpaw is adapted to the humid continental climate of its native habitat. It is seldom found near the Atlantic or Gulf coasts as it is sensitive to low humidity, dry winds and cool maritime summers. The Pawpaw has been developed to grow well in some locations in the Pacific Northwest and the San Jose area of California.
Recipes that include Pawpaw. One is easiest, three is harder.
Someone shared Pawpaw using the Specialty Produce app for iPhone and Android.
Produce Sharing allows you to share your produce discoveries with your neighbors and the world! Is your market carrying green dragon apples? Is a chef doing things with shaved fennel that are out of this world? Pinpoint your location annonymously through the Specialty Produce App and let others know about unique flavors that are around them.
Santa Monica Farmers Market
Steve Murray Jr.Near Santa Monica, California, United States
About 573 days ago, 9/18/19
Sharer's comments : Paw Paw