Pawpaw Fruit | What to know about North America's largest native fruit

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Thursday, September 21, 2023
What is a Pawpaw fruit?
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The fruit is also known as North America's tropical fruit, that's because it's the only fruit indigenous to the continental U.S.

The pawpaw fruit is native to 26 U.S. states, all along the East Coast between Ontario, Canada, and northern Florida west to Kentucky, Ohio, Michigan, Nebraska, Kansas, and even Texas, according to National Geographic.

There's even a National Pawpaw Day which is celebrated on the third Thursday in September.

What is a pawpaw fruit?

The fruit is also known as North America's tropical fruit, that's because it's the only fruit indigenous to the continental U.S., according to an article in Allrecipes, pawpaws are typically three to six inches long and are coated in waxy, green skin. The pale yellow flesh inside is custardy, very soft and jelly-like. Watch out for the dark seeds!

Photo Credit: NC Pawpaw Festival

What does it taste like?

The fruit's texture is like custard and has a tropical fruit flavor. Fruit flavors have 'hints' of mango, pineapple, banana, or orange-citrusy flavors. The fruit is used in many desserts including pies. Here are a few recipes.

Are pawpaws healthy?

The fruit contains all essential amino acids, is high in minerals and provides many vitamins.

The downside

Experts say that the fruit's picking season and shelf life are very short. Pawpaw trees bear fruit for only about six weeks in late summer, the fruit bruises easily and, after picking, only lasts a few days about a week, refrigerated-presenting significant commercial challenges.

The upside

Most states have a Paw Paw festival to celebrate this short seasonal, US tropical fruit. Check here to find one in your state.

Pawpaws on a tree | Photo Credit: NC Pawpaw Festival

How is it spelled?

The name is spelled Pawpaw or Paw Paw. The Latin name is, Asimina triloba.

Pawpaw Tree | Photo Credit: NC Pawpaw Festival