Paw-paws, a fruit of the Carolinian forest

I’d heard of paw-paws. The first place I heard of them was at Sears & Switzer’s acting workshop, where I had been assigned a scene from Crimes of the Heart. Couldn’t find much information about them at that time (this is pre-world.wide.web and yahoo and google).

Heard next about them when Lorraine Johnson was giving a talk at the Brick Works about local foods, native plants, things that we could be doing. Learned that Paw-paws were native to this area, but that you’ve got to have three of them to ensure germination (I thought that strange at the time, but have since learned that some apples have the same requirements). They’re an understory tree, which means they don’t grow to great heights, and they’ll do well in light shade.

The fruit didn’t travel well, and in days prior to refrigeration, tended to spoil quickly. ¬†We’ve been able to overcome these problems, but it’s still not a well-known fruit.

I ran across it last week, as the banner image on the Ontario Culinary Tourism Alliance website. Aha! Finally, I know what it looks like! Greenish things. Oval. Bruise easily.

Today, at the Leslieville Farmers Market, I went over (as usual) to the Forbes table (I like to taunt them that they haven’t had spruce tips since the spring: I know this makes sense, but I just like to bug them about that). They had a whole bunch of — paw-paws! OK, have run across it enough times now that I must try it.

Bought two, have brought them home. Got them at different stages of ripeness — one getting yellow, some spots. The other is quite green. Apparently you want to eat them yellow with lots of dark spots — like with bananas, that indicates when the fruit is really ripe.

So I need to wait a bit. Maybe tomorrow the first one will be ripe: if so, I’ll photograph it. I’ve heard that the way to eat it is to cut it open and scoop the flesh out with a spoon.

It smells really good — and I’m not a fruit lover. It smells like a cross between a pineapple and a kiwi and a banana — got those acid things going on, and that deep banana thing, too.

Stay tuned!

This entry was posted in Food, Food of a place, Food, grown, Gardening by pat. Bookmark the permalink.

About pat

Visual thinker, first got interested in digital imagery in the early days of Omni magazine, back when it used to review what had happened at SIGGraph. I worked in the 3D software field for 23 years. Lifelong enjoyment of gardening grew over time; I was a Master Gardener (briefly) and had a vegetable and herb allotment garden in Toronto to grow vegetables, as well as perennial gardens at home. Gardening and enjoying fresh produce also raised my interest in cooking with really good local food. As more restaurants in Toronto are offering local fare, I enjoy dining out and sampling the visions the different chefs have.

2 thoughts on “Paw-paws, a fruit of the Carolinian forest

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