pawpaw, paw paw fruit
The sweet delicious pulp resembles that of a banana, a mango, and a twist of citrus

Have you heard of the pawpaw fruit?

The Pawpaw, Asimina triloba, is the largest edible wild fruit native to the USA and can be found growing wild in the southeastern states. Pawpaws grow best in moist bottomland, and well drained areas that are sunny or partly shaded.1)http://www.blossomnursery.com/pawpaw_HABITAT.html

Put a Pawpaw in Your Pocket

Where, oh where is dear little Nellie?
Where, oh where is dear little Nellie?
Where, oh where is dear little Nellie?
Way down yonder in the pawpaw patch.

Pickin’ up pawpaws, puttin’ ’em in your pocket,
Pickin’ up pawpaws, puttin’ ’em in your pocket,
Pickin’ up pawpaws, puttin’ ’em in your pocket,
Way down yonder in the pawpaw patch.
–American Folk Song2)http://www.agr.georgia.gov/is-that-a-pawpaw-in-your-pocket.aspx

The sweet delicious pulp resembles that of a banana, a mango, and a twist of citrus
Image from SeriousEats.com

This scrumptious pawpaw image is from SeriousEats.com.3)http://www.seriouseats.com/2014/09/what-are-pawpaws-wild-fruit-midwest-how-to-prep-and-eat-pawpaws.html

Well, we kind of paid a visit to the pawpaw patch. We met a lot of nice folks, talked to some pawpaw growers, and tasted a little sampling of pawpaw recipes.

GardensAll recently attended the annual North Carolina Pawpaw Festival in nearby Winston-Salem. The event is sponsored and hosted by the NC Cooperative Extension Agency. There are lectures, displays, cooking demonstrations, plant sales, books, a long table of sample tasties all made from pawpaws, and fruit for sale.

But… you have to get there as soon as they open. We got there about 30 minutes after that and this year, all the fruit was sold out! We’re growing our own pawpaw trees going on a couple years now, but no fruit yet, so guess we’ll have to wait another year before having a chance to taste the creamy sweet fruits reminiscent of a cross between a mango and a banana.

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Pawpaw in the wild near waterways. Image by GardensAll Facebook fan, Aaron Pangle

A collage of pawpaw aficionados converged to admire, celebrate, and learn about this smallish American fruit tree (Asiminia triloba), a staple food source dating back to the earliest inhabitants. The unique flavor of the ripe vaguely mango shaped fruit has been described as a cross between banana, mango, and a tang of citrus.  Chances are you’ll never find pawpaws at your supermarket and rarely does it make appearances at the local veggie stands. It neither stores nor ships well, so you either grow your own, connect with someone who grows it, attend festivals like this one (though they sold out of fruit the first 1/2 hour), or buy the value-added products like purees, jams, chutneys and, yes, of course, beer! Pawpaw fruit does freeze well, so peel it, slice it, bag it and freeze it.

Those who are keen to know more about pawpaws can easily access information from on-line resources as well as from books like Andrew Moore’s PAWPAW

pawpaw
A fine book paying homage to an amazing fruit, the pawpaw.
Pawpaw plants
Kids love the name and the taste. This little girl wants to grow her own!
Pawpaw Chef and Foodwriter, Sara Bir displays her wares.
Pawpaw Chef and Foodwriter, Sara Bir displays her wares.
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Food tasting tables were one of the main attractions. So many dishes, breads, and deserts using pawpaws.
IMG_6158
Yes! Even delicious ice cream!
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A friendly Michael McConkey from Edible Landscaping was on hand to offer his container trees along with great advice on how to grow them on.

One of the best ways to get familiar with pawpaws, is by attending a festival dedicated to the cultivation and use of this remarkable fruit tree. We’ve scouted a few to check out either this year or next. And of course, the very best way is to enjoy America’s largest native fruit down yonder, in the pawpaw patch (if you’re lucky enough to find one).

Pawpaw Festivals

One of the best ways to get familiar with pawpaws, is by attending a festival dedicated to the cultivation and use of this remarkable fruit tree.
The sweet delicious pulp resembles that of a banana, a mango, and a twist of citrus

Meanwhile, if you want to join the very active Facebook conversation on Pawpaws on GardensAll Facebook, you can find one of those convos here:


References   [ + ]

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Coleman Alderson is author of the Mountain Whispers series and frequent blogger on LittleRedPill.com. "I see myself as an outlier, a free-market entrepreneur, an eclectic reader and devout learner, a devoted family guy, a plantsman, a home designer-builder-remodeler, a conscious environmentalist, and a friend to humanity." He holds an MS from Penn State where his thesis centered on horticulture, park planning, design, and maintenance. "But nothing surpasses my 40 years of lessons from the field and garden. And the beauty of gardening is that those lessons never end!"