We have an unprecedented and exciting addition to the CSA bags this week: pawpaws! Also known as the Indiana banana, pawpaws are a native tree fruit that is only available by wild forage. The trees can’t be cultivated readily (yet, although lots of people are working on it). These are as close to a tropical fruit as you’ll find growing in our river valley – in fact, they’re related to several actual tropical fruits around the world (e.g.cherimoyas and custard apples). These are a special addition to our CSA bags, not only because they’re tasty, but also because our grower Sara Long went out into the woods and foraged them herself! This brings a whole new meaning to the word “local food” – these pawpaws, being native to our woods, are truly locals!
To eat a pawpaw, cut it in half lengthwise, grab a spoon, and eat it like custard in a cup. The seeds are NOT edible and should be discarded. The edible flesh of a pawpaw has the consistency of custard or bananas, and it tastes fresh and sweet, with a bit of muskiness to it. I have no idea how to tell if a pawpaw is overripe or spoiled, so I can’t tell you how long to store these. If you’re not interested in snacking on these, there are lots of recipes on the internet for pawpaw ice cream, sorbet, chutney, you name it. Enjoy this special treat!
I did find this helpful sheet about prep and storage, although I’ve had pawpaws so rarely that I can’t vouch for its advice personally. http://www.shagbarkfarmohio.com/pdfs/Pawpaw.pdf