Last year we planted two American paw paw trees. By the start of this year they had both disappeared. Sad, but true. Probably eaten by deer, or maybe just not watered enough. Whatever the reason, it makes what I’m about to tell you seem a little weird.
For the last couple of weeks, we’ve been harvesting American paw paws. Not from the dead trees, I hasten to add. But around five years ago, it turns out, we bought an American paw paw seedling from a nursery in Warragul. We planted it, and more or less forgot about it, imagining that the burgeoning bush behind our rampant kiwi fruit vine was a noxious weed.
So when we saw large yellow fruit on the ground around its trunk, we imagined these were random quinces that had been mysteriously transported from the top paddock, where – if truth be told – they have performed without distinction. This attractive looking but so far entirely tasteless fruit turns out to be the Asimina triloba.
What I want to know now is whether anyone has ever actually eaten one. I’m going to follow up myself with Kentucky State University, which runs the world’s only full time (American) paw paw research program. The fruit we’ve tried so far has been less than ripe, despite its luscious appearance. But it’s June, and to be honest, at this time of year, any kind of harvest is remarkable enough as winter tightens its grip. Especially for something we’d given up for dead.
If you’ve ever eaten or even seen this fruit before, please let me know. I want to know what to expect next.