We’ve just moved into a new house in Ann Arbor and in between unpacking boxes, have been exploring the garden. We were delighted to see several Pawpaw trees with fruit that has just ripened.
The Pawpaw is a fruit that some describe as tasting halfway between a banana and a mango. It certainly has a very strong fruity smell. My friend hated the smell, but maybe her fruit was overripe. Unlike an apple or orange, the fruit will not last long, even in the refrigerator. We think the fruit is delicious, but found the only way to eat it raw was to scoop it out with a small spoon. It can be quite messy to handle otherwise (I’ve never managed the art of cutting up mangos!)
I would have expected to find such a fruit in a tropical climate, but it is surprisingly native to Michigan and much of the east coast of the US as well as into Ontario.
Apparently, the Pawpaw was foraged by American Indians and early American settlers, but has gone out of favor for generations now. “… when Americans stopped going to the woods for food, they stopped knowing the pawpaw.” notes Andrew Moore on the NPR show The Splendid Table.
Our foraging in our own back yard has paid off! We’ve had several tasty desserts from our finds. : )
For more information on the tasty Pawpaw see http://www.splendidtable.org/story/how-did-americans-forget-about-the-pawpaw.
Photo credits to Indiana Public Media / Flickr.