This is a day I have been waiting for. The pawpaws are almost ready and are starting to drop off the trees. I’ve been growing pawpaw trees for at least 15 years and until this year only two of them ever bore fruit, yielding only a handful each year. This year several more trees are bearing fruit. Today I found three fruits lying on the ground. They will be ripe and ready to eat in a day or two when they soften and their fragrance fills the room.
I counted almost 40 more pawpaw fruits still hanging on the trees. I’ll be checking under the trees every day for the rest of the season and try to bring them all in before the critters get them. I sure don’t want the local possums and raccoons to develop a liking for them!
Pawpaws are the largest fruit native to the United States and Canada. They grow wild in the woods as an understory tree. The fruits are practically never sold in stores and are only occasionally found at farmers markets (I’ve never run across them). This is because they have a very short shelf life and most people are unfamiliar with them.
The first two trees I acquired were small seedlings delivered through the mail. The rest of my 50 to 100 young pawpaw trees I grew from seed or sprang up out of the ground as suckers.
So what is so special about pawpaws? It’s the custard-like texture and the heavenly tropical flavor. Some liken the taste to bananas. I sense a resemblance to the flavors of custard apple and cherimoya. But really, what makes pawpaws special is that they are unique and don’t taste like anything else. Only another pawpaw lover would understand my obsession with them.
We were once lucky enough to obtain an enormous Shenandoah variety pawpaw at the Ohio Pawpaw Festival. You better believe I saved and planted the seeds! Maybe some day…