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Blog - Paw paw

Common Paw Paw

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Introducing the amazing Paw Paw, also known as the Indian Banana or Asimina Triloba. Paw paw fruit may seem like a tropical fruit that doesn't belong in Ontario, but varieties grow up and down the continent. The consistency is like that of a creamy custard and it has a flavour reminiscent of banana, mango, pear, and papaya. It is a unique,  uncommon, and lovely autumn fruit that everyone should try at least once. 

Truly remarkable, unique, and elusive, paw paw will be sure to amaze your senses and will be quickly added to your list of fall delights. That is, if you can get a hold of any: few people know about this treasure and even fewer have tasted it. 

Paw Paw Properties 

The paw paw grows on small shrub-like trees and comes in a number of slightly different varieties. As they ripen from green to yellow, and then bruise with large black spots with yellowing, the flavour and sweetness intensifies to something similar to a caramel custard. The fruit is not without its drawbacks: it doesnt travel well, the time between unripe and really ripe can be a matter of days, and the flavour has an arch, going from banana-like to fruity and creamy, and then caramel-like with hints of potassium. Just like bananas, some people like them totally blackened, while others prefer them when they're soft to the touch, just as they begin to yellow. 

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How Does the Paw Paw Fruit Grow?

Paw paw are an interesting plant in that they do not rely on typical pollinators to breed, but rather their flowers attract carrion insects in search for some rotting meat. People who grow Paw paw have been known to hang chunks of meat in the shrubs to help attract insects and increase pollination. Paw paw is also home to both the Zebra Swallowtail Butterfly larvae and the Pawpaw Sphinx Moth larvae. The glorious Asimina Triloba tree grows across much of North America edging forests and on fertile land. The plants take from 5 to 7 years to start producing fruit, and like most fruit trees, they have great years and disappointing ones. As they mature they will send out other shoots nearby and develop into a grove. If you want to spread out and expand or transplant any of the new young plants, use a shovel (in spring) to separate the tap root connecting it to the mother and leave it in place for a year. It will then be ready to be transplanted the following spring. 

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Paw paw is the largest native berry to North America, and the only one of its species not confined to the tropics. While the yummy fruit is relatively low maintenance to grow and resistant to many bugs, it doesn't travel well and does not look the prettiest when ripe. Because of these reasons, paw paw has never had great commercial success and as a result has largely been forgotten.  


Where to Get Paw Paw Fruit 

We sell paw paw when we can. Some years we get 20 lbs of paw paw, and other years we have 200 lbs. We have only a few limited sources for this fantastic fruit but have been working with fruit growers to set up more pawpaw groves. If you are interested in growing paw paw we also take pre-orders for paw paw seedlings. Please note they can take several years before fruiting and we only sell seedlings in pairs as more than one plant is needed for pollination. Please email forbes@wildfoods.ca with paw paw in the subject line for any paw paw related inquiries. If you have paw paw growing in Ontario and you would like to get it to market, get seed to plant more or trade fruits to taste the differences in varieties, please give us a call 1-877-354-9453. 

For more information about the common paw paw fruit and any of our other wild food product, contact us today at Forbes Wild Foods.



 

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