Sunday, September 9, 2018

Way down yonder.

This blog is nothing if not educational.

Yesterday, Kat, Amy and I braved the damp to head out to a pick-your-own-produce farm that we've been to before. Kitty was most interested in their late-season peaches; Amy wanted apples; and I was up for Asian pears. The farm's weekly email also mentioned a thing none of us had tried before: pawpaws. So of course we had to snag a few.

Pawpaws grow on trees in a wide swath of the Midwest and South. The trees often grow together in clumps. You may be familiar with "The Pawpaw Patch," a traditional song (as near as I can tell) about sweet little Nellie, who's run away from her friends to harvest pawpaws.

The song has the technique right. Pawpaws are ripe when they fall off the tree. You harvest them by picking them up from the ground -- and they are beat-up-looking things. Here's a photo of a few on a tree (upper right corner), plus some on the ground. One of them must have split open when it fell.


Here's a clearer shot of the pawpaw's innards, plus a few others we harvested.



Whoever first tried eating one of these things must have been a brave soul. They don't look very appetizing, do they? But the flesh is sweet, very soft, and creamy like a mango, with hints of banana or maybe citrus. Pretty tasty. The skin is kind of bitter; Mama Google recommends peeling your pawpaws before eating them.

The seeds are round and flat, about three-quarters of an inch in diameter. I'm told they'll germinate. However, don't expect to see pawpaws at your local Safeway anytime soon: they bruise easily and they don't stay fresh for very long. Apparently you can freeze them or dehydrate them. But Big Ag has other, hardier fruits to make money from.

Now that I've tasted a pawpaw, I can't say that I'm a huge fan. But they're uncommon enough in our urban area that I look forward to finding them again next year.

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These moments of pawpaw-patchy blogginess have been brought to you, as a public service, by Lynne Cantwell.


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