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Finding & Eating Paw Paw Fruit

I’ve always been a fan of exotic fruits. I’m the one likely to track down and buy an imported jackfruit or a half-decent mango when I see them in stock at Kroger.

When I found out about the pawpaw, the largest edible fruit native to the United States, I knew I had to try one.

They are surprisingly hard to track down though. Here’s a great explainer video why.

In short, they ripen really quickly and do not travel well.

Well, in late Spring 2020, I went to check out a food forest project at DeKalb Memorial Park. While there, my son and I spotted a few pawpaw trees.

The food forest is open to the public, so I made a note on the calendar to come back in September.

Sure enough, there were a few ripe, so we took 3 home with us.

I cut them up. They reminded me a lot of mangoes, except that they had several pits instead of a single large pit. Either way, we were able to try one raw just by scooping the fruit out.

It has a very runny, mushy texture. I see why it’s impossible to grow and sell in grocery stores. The taste was custard-y and very rich. It really is like mango meets banana. It was cloy-ing sweet, but still really good in moderation. The fruit was also very filling.

I can absolutely see how they were said to have sustained Lewis & Clark in the final stretch of their journey.

However, I also couldn’t see myself eating more than one. So, I tried making really basic pawpaw cookies courtesy Kentucky State University.

The cookies came out pretty well. They were really dense. The ones with peanuts worked better. Even the cookies though I couldn’t eat a lot of.

I highly recommend tracking some down. They are slowly becoming more commercialized (very slowly – that article is from 2011), which will likely make them a whole lot better and remove the few negatives that have been found in them.

By Nate

I'm Nate Shivar - I live in Atlanta and love exploring the city, outdoors, books & Internet. Read about me, my Now page, or my work.

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