Sunday, September 25, 2016

Pawpaw Taste Test

Pawpaw fruit on a seedling tree
For some time I have seriously considered planting pawpaw trees on my four acres. Before I purchased this land, and was in the daydreaming stages of what my homestead might look like, I seriously considered Pawpaw trees. The only thing that held me back was the fact that I had no idea what pawpaws tasted like. Today, I tasted pawpaws for the first time and the decision is made - I will plant paw paw trees on my land as a delicious step to increased self-sufficiency.

What is a Pawpaw (Paw paw) Tree?

A pawpaw is a fruit tree native to much of North America - zones 5 -7 (areas with cold winters and warm summers) 

The fruit is in the "custard apple" family. And tastes of banana, papaya, and some say of melon

They are nutritious, with high levels of Vitamin C, iron, potassium, and other important vitamins and minerals

In it's native habitat, the paw paw tree has few pests 

The zebra swallowtail butterfly larvae feeds exclusively on pawpaw leaves - but not in large or destructive numbers

Deer tend to feed only on the fruit; leaving the trees and branches alone - making the tree deer resistant

The fruit do not travel well commercially or last longer than several days when fully ripe.  This is why you may never have seen pawpaws in grocery stores

(information gathered from Sun Nurseries Pawpaws and Kentucky State University Pawpaw planting guide)

Public Domain Photo by Manuel.conde 

My Pawpaw Adventure

I love Sun Nurseries and discovered it early this past spring.  It is a bit of drive to get to it, so I don't go as often as I would like. But when I realized they had Pawpaws for sale, I made plans to drive over.

I'm so glad I did. As usual, the Sun Nurseries staff were amazingly friendly and helpful.  I bought a pawpaw, they gave me a plastic spoon, and I went outside and sat on the gazebo step as I prepared to eat my first pawpaw.

I had brought my own knife, and I was a bit surprised by the spoon. As soon as I cut the top off the fruit, I realized that the spoon was pretty important.

The cold (it had been refrigerated), sweet, yellow fruit was very soft. In fact, the texture reminded me of flan.  The taste was a combination of subtle banana and papaya...with the fresh coolness of melon.  

When I was finished, I wrapped up the seeds (to avoid littering) and stuck them in my bag. I was glad I did. The staff told me that I could plant the seeds if I'd like - since I'm not in a rush to have mature trees quickly.  The seeds information was good news.  I was worried that the seedling plants they offered for sale would be too large to get safely from Maryland to my land in West Virginia. Sure, the trees could sit on the front seat of the Jeep and poke out the sun rider roof, but the wind would surely cause great damage to the tree.

You can bet I'll be planting my pawpaw seeds and trying to grow my own sweet, soft, wonderful fruit and/or trying to find a way to transport a seedling tree up to my land.

Related Links:

An article about my first trip to Sun Nurseries.  If you are in the Maryland area and are looking for a wonderful place to see, consider, and purchase plants, shrubs, trees, roses, garden benches, fountains, boulder owls, and so much more... Sun Nurseries is your best bet. Definitely worth a drive. Each time I've been there, the staff are friendly, helpful, and they go above and beyond to make sure you are a happy customer. Each time I go, I wander around for hours; planning my future outdoor space, listening to the birds, sitting near the fountains, and watching the butterflies.         

The Shack is where I'll plant my pawpaw trees and where someday I'll live a country and more self-sufficient life.  I think pawpaw trees will be a great addition to that little piece of land.  I think the perfect spot will be where the "yard" meets the woods - near MY other trees (It still excites me to call them "my" trees!).

In my search for pawpaw recipes, I've found this book.  Pawpaw: In Search of America's Forgotten Fruit has been added to my wishlist.

Pawpaw: In Search of America's Forgotten Fruit


  1. Oh, how exciting - getting to taste (and like) your first Paw Paw fruit, and ending up with the 'seeds' to plant your Paw Paw tree(s) at your country homestead. Thanks for the interesting information about the Pawpaw tree and it's fruit, as I was not familiar with it.

  2. All I knew about pawpaws before reading this was "Way down yonder in the pawpaw patch." Now I'm totally fascinated and really want a pawpaw tree in our yard, too. I'll definitely have to do some local research on that, but you certainly have piqued my interest. Sun Nurseries sounds like a wonderful place for both newbie and experienced gardeners. Great review!

  3. Very interesting, I'd never heard of Paw Paw before. Looks like a pear but sure isn't!

  4. I've only heard of Pawpaw trees and their fabulous fruit. I've never actually had the opportunity to eat one myself. You offer me so many adventures. Some day I am going to drive to Maryland just so you and I can go to the Renaissance Faire, visit Sun Nursery, eat pawpaws, visit your shack and ride the rapids together. Oh! And, I think I'll bring home a stone owl as my souvenir.

  5. Well I see that I still learn something new every day. I have never ever heard of this fruit. Now I'll have to go and find some!! Thanks Dawn!!

  6. Sounds like a delicious addition to your future tree grove at the Shack. Now I look forward to sampling a pawpaw. Have you had success with those seeds?

    1. I have not yet had luck with the seeds. Most of them are being stored in the fridge. However, I do have a pot full of dirt and paw paw seeds out on the balcony - with my fingers crossed.

  7. Stories like this make me smile; new discoveries that become part of our everyday lives. So have you seen any growth yet from the newly planted seeds?