Friday, July 12, 2024

Discovering the Pawpaw Fruit

Have you had this rare fruit?

About three inches in size, the fruit can be green or yellow in color with dark spots. Photo by MB Journe, 11/2023.

The pawpaw is called the American custard apple or the West Virginia banana because it is native to Appalachia as well as southern Canada. It grows wild in 20 states and was very popular in early America.

This delicious fruit is loved by people and wildlife alike. It is creamy and sweet flavored, a mix of mango, pear and banana.

The pawpaw can be used in beer and makes an excellent dry white wine. It is versatile, can be canned and used as a substitute for banana in any baked goods, jellies, puddings and ice cream.

The Community Supported Garden (CSG) at Genesis Farm in Frelinghuysen has a well-established pawpaw orchard with 35 trees. They purchased their trees from Sarah Vu of Pronky Hollow Farms in Bernardsville.

The pawpaw fruit is rare and hard to find but if you can get your paws on them, they are a real treat. The CSG encourages the home gardener to start their own trees as they do well in New Jersey.

Here is a simple recipe for pawpaw ice cream:

  1. 2 cups pawpaw pulp
  2. 1 cup sugar
  3. 2 cups cream
  4. 2 cups milk

Combine the pawpaw pulp and sugar, stir in the cream and milk. Pour mixture into ice cream maker and freeze according to manufacturer’s directions.

The pawpaw tree can be easily identified in the woods. The tree is 25 to 30 feet tall and it grows straight with smooth, light gray speckled bark. The trunk size is small, around six inches in diameter. The leaves are quite large, teardrop shaped, and the underside of the leaf is light green. The tree looks tropical with clusters of fruit maturing in late September and October. The tree is easy to spot in fall when their large leaves turn a bright yellow.

Yelens Choban
MB Journe, Contributing Writer
Contributing Writer

MB has been a resident of Frelinghuysen for the past 22 years. She lives in an old farmhouse on the side of the road. She enjoys the simple life, puttering in her flower garden, practicing Qi Gong under her redbud tree, or creating art on the deck.
MB's experience as a journalist began when her son was quite young, she began writing for The Paulinskill Valley Chronicle, often bringing him to work with her. Her responsibilities were writing articles with photos, selling ads, and billing. This suited her, as a single mother not wanting to be separated from her small child.

She considers herself a lover of nature, often seen photographing its beauty. She has worked as a seasonal employee of YMCA Camp Mason for the past 17 years. She is a teacher and mentor of children, always emphasizing the YMCA’s core values - caring, honesty, respect and responsibility. She tries to listen carefully to each individual she interviews, getting their viewpoint. That is why she likes to write about the interesting people and places that make Warren County such a nice place to live.