Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Have You Ever Had a Paw Paw?

Okaaaaay -- am I the only person who has never heard of this wonder fruit?

On Sunday, we joined our fab neighbors Harriet & Richard to enjoy a Paw Paw. Now, I had never heard of one of these, and truthfully, I was excited to try something new, especially if a lovely glass of wine was involved.

After dutifully showing off the aforementioned fruit, Richard let me play touch-feely with it to see what it was like. It was about 5 inches long and was just a bit thicker than a mango (though not thicker on one end; it was more evenly proportioned). From the outside, it had a distinctive citrus smell and was much softer than I imagined. Here's a picture:

Richard then took the "custard apple" and cut it into quarters while Harriet gathered some spoons. I thought that this would be a little crunchy and apple like, but it was unlike anything I had ever tried before. You really, really had to eat it with a spoon right out of the peel. It was soft and a little squishy, but not in an unpleasant way, plus, it didn't taste citrusy at all. Check out this pic:

There were a few oval, black seeds each about an inch long, but we cast those to the side (Harriet is going to try to grow a paw paw tree -- how cool is that???).
So, does anyone know where you can find a paw paw around here? Harriet and Richard snagged theirs at a farmer's market in VA, but I'd love to find another one of these a little closer to home. Have you tried one? What did you think? I looooove finding cool new ingredients and trying to figure out what to do with them, but this one escapes me. If you want more info, check out the entry on Wikipedia: I pulled the pics from there, so they'll look familiar.
Pawpaw lovers...unite!


smoo said...

They grow as understory trees along local rivers like the Potomac.

Chef Christine said...

Thanks for the link! Harriet just brought two more ripe paw paws over last night and I'm going to try to figure out something to do with them.

The Traveling Willoughbys said...

Hi Christine-

The first responder is correct-they do grow along streams. They also require a bit of shade when they begin to grow and the seeds must remain moist. They need to grow in groves so plan to have about 20 to have a good crop for a family the fall.

If you pick paw paws, be sure you are on land that permits their harvest and removal. National Park Service lands don't allow taking seeds, fruits, flowers...anything from their lands.

They are also called Indiana Banana and Poor Man's Banana. Very tasty treat for the fall! Good luck with the paw paw patch! Enjoy!