Pawpaws- The Lost American Fruit
The lost fruit of America is the pawpaw. The natural growth range of these potato-shaped tree-grown fruits, which are native to 26 of the United States, extends from southern Florida to the Canadian border and as far west as Nebraska. But unless you know where to forage, finding them is difficult. Even while some efforts have been made to produce pawpaws in states where they are not naturally found, such California and Oregon, this growth still poses a challenge for the wild pawpaw. Pawpaws continue to thwart efforts to make them more widely available for sale. The shelf life of ripe pawpaws is only approximately three days.
They should also be selected when ripe because, like garden tomatoes, transporting damages them. Pawpaws are also prone to bruises; while the fruit within is typically still safe to eat, the harmed outside skin becomes black and blue, turning off the majority of buyers. How can you obtain this delicious edible fruit, which also happens to be the biggest fruit that naturally grows in the United States? The natural harvest season for pawpaws is from late summer to early fall, so you'll probably need to locate a local producer or, if you're lucky, find it at a farmers' market.
Even though it can be difficult to locate fresh pawpaw fruit, your efforts will be rewarded by the fruit's delicious flavor and texture. The fruit is best consumed raw, in all its meaty splendor, by scooping it out with a spoon, according to the majority of enthusiasts. Avoid the skin, which has a nerve toxin and the huge, dark brown, inedible seeds. The custardy texture of the pawpaw provides a luscious finish, and the inside of the fruit tastes of tropical bliss with overtones of banana, kiwi, and mango. There are pawpaw dishes, from pies and custards to cakes and cookies, if you have extra fruit you'd want to use.
In United States Department of Agriculture hardiness zones 5 through 8, if you have a green thumb and would want to cultivate your own crop of pawpaws, it is doable as long as the rainfall is sufficient to establish the tree and as long as you're prepared to hand-pollinate the tree. Trees like pawpaws do not self-pollinate. Beetles and other animals distribute seeds in the wild by their eating, moving, and urinating routines. Insects also help pollinate fruit. There are alternative ways to find pawpaw fruit if you'd prefer not to actively encourage pawpaw development, such as the annual Pawpaw Festival held in Albany, Ohio, every September.