What's a Paw Paw and where can I get one?
It tastes like a banana and young coconut to me. Others say mango, peach, etc. but basically you can substitute it for a banana in any recipe. It's big and when ripe it has the consistency of an avocado. You won't find it in the store (very short shelf life) or the west coast. It's a tropicalish plant that likes shade and apparently native americans planted them along river valleys. I am fortunate enough to have 4 groves on my property and it is now PAW PAW TIME!!! So find a friend that has some, but not this guy because anybody that knows me knows I love bananas, or head to the Paw Paw festival.
About the Paw Paw
- It uses flies to pollinate by providing a flower that smells like garbage which is also where the fruit appears
- Its a tropical fruit that takes a tree about 4 or 5 years to fruit
- Trees like shade and grow very tall
- It doesn't really ripen off the tree which makes getting them from wildlife even more difficult
- It has many names but I like the Kentucky Custard Apple
- Shaking the tree has various results, e.g. I've had ripe ones not fall & unripe ones fall, WATCH YOUR HEAD and if they are really ripe you need a catcher or they will go splat
- Harvest is early September through mid October around here and fruit on the same cluster get ripe at different times
- Give it a gentle squeeze it gets grossly soft when ripe so you'll know
- Gets ripe about the same time as walnuts
- Deer will get most of them, deal with it.
- 2 days on the counter and 2 weeks in the fridge
Why it's not in stores
It is North America's largest and best native fruit and why somebody hasn't figured out a good way to bring it to market is frustrating to me but many are trying. The problem is with the short shelf life. There are some studies and experiments being done but if you want them to last put them in the fridge or preserve them.
Try to mimic nature and remember they like shade and the flowers smell bad and attract flies, something to consider before you plant around your house. Probably good around a stable or another place that has flies.
- Ripe seeds should be placed in mostly native soil, preferably from where you picked it
- Moisten and refrigerate
- Keep soil moist
- Plant outside in February in a container or direct sow
- Wait five years and enjoy!