Pawpaw, paw-paw, or paw paw?

This past week has been fairly busy for me, as some of Auxiliary members met at our workshop early in the week and started working on our patient tray favors, so we could sort of stay ahead in case we have a time or two that we can’t meet and work. Our July tray favors were decorated for the 4th of July holiday, being predominately red/white/blue, with tiny flags attached. For August, we decided to go with something a little different and managed to put together something that looks like a triangle shaped slice of watermelon, with the seeds drawn in black. Several different ladies shared their ideas and we made several prototypes, before deciding on one we thought the patients would like. They turned out to be really cute and eye catching. This week we went on to do something for September, with the beginning of school being our thought. We decided to cut the shape of an open book, about 1½” X 2” in size, out of different colors of construction paper and/or card, and then we wrote the words of the old song, “School Days, School Days”, on the ‘cover’ and inside. We then mounted them on the edge of a square of card stock that was white and wrote “Get Well Soon” in fall colors on this. With six or more of us working, it went really quickly and then we all went to lunch!
After lunch, it was my day to work in the gift shop and my afternoon was very quiet as there were few patients and not a day when the outpatient office was busy. We have several members who usually work that have illness in their families or they are on vacation, so I worked in the place of one of them on Wednesday, and had another not busy day. While I was not busy working with customers, I was sitting there with my embroider hoop working on one of the cup towels we will be having for sale at our craft show in November! The ones I am working on are all Christmas themed, and this one was Rudolph, and he turned out really cute. Now, someone else will take the towel and do the embellishing work on it! Thursday, I managed to stay at home and get my own chores done, but the lady who works on Friday morning fell and injured herself, so I helped her out by working her shift. It is always interesting to see the difference between working an afternoon and working in the morning. The morning ladies have a little more to do as they deliver the daily paper to all the patients. The only afternoon shift that does this is Wednesday, and they deliver the weekly papers, that are donated by the publisher.
On Saturday when I was on face book, I opened a post from my grandson. To my surprise, he was talking about pawpaws. Now, this intrigued me as the only time I had ever heard about pawpaws was in an old song, with the words “down yonder in the pawpaw patch”. After doing some research this morning (Sunday), I found out a little about pawpaws! (People always ask me’ “Where do you get your ideas for your column”?) Well, now you know one of them! Others come to me when I’m shopping in a grocery store and notice a fruit or vegetable that I’ve never seen or heard of before!
As you can see from my title, I quickly found out that this fruit can be spelled several different ways and it also goes under several names. Asimina Triloba is the scientific name and it is a species in the plant family Annonaceae, and is a very large shrub or a small tree that can grow to a height of about 35 feet with a trunk from six to twelve inches in diameter. It grows across the Southeast and is a favorite with gardeners because of the beautiful foliage, tropical appearance and very abundant fruit. They seem to thrive in the tropical climate and in deciduous forests. The leaves turn bright yellow in the fall, and they have beautiful, rich red-purple or maroon flowers from March to May.
Pawpaws are the largest edible fruit grown on trees that are native to North America, specifically in the temperate climate of the eastern part of the United States. The fruit itself is a large yellowish-green to brown berry, that is two to six inches long and one to three inches broad and contains several seeds that are one-half to one inch in diameter and are embedded in the fruit (according to the photos with the article they look almost like watermelon seeds but are much larger). The fruit begins developing after the plants bloom. When they first appear, they are green and they mature in September to October, and are prolific enough to cause branches of the tree to break under their weight.
The pawpaw has had numerous common names and according to the original post I saw, it tastes something like a banana combined with a mango, and according to the information that I pulled up, they also compare it to a papaya, as well as a cantaloupe. Since it is a fruit that is rather fragile, and does not keep well, it isn’t shipped, nor is it raised commercially. According to the articles I found, the pawpaw is one of America’s best-kept-secret fruits!
For more information, type “pawpaw” into your search engine and take your pick. The two that I used were pawpaw trees and then pawpaw fruit. The information in pawpaw fruit is mostly from Wikipedia the free encyclopedia.
Since pawpaws are not readily available to us, I did not look for any recipes so here are a couple from my files.
Southwest Style Breakfast
5 cups frozen shredded hash brown potatoes
¼ teaspoon salt
1 large onion, chopped
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 cans (14½ each) diced tomatoes and green chilies, undrained
1 teaspoon chili powder
½ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
8 eggs
1/3 cup milk
1 cup shredded Mexican cheese blend
Preheat oven to 375ºF.
Lightly spray a 9×13-baking pan with nonstick spray Arrange potatoes evenly in prepared pan, sprinkle with ¼ teaspoon salt and set aside.
In a large skillet, cook onion in olive oil until tender; stir in both cans of undrained tomatoes and chilies, the ½ teaspoon salt and the black pepper. Bring to boil; reduce heat and simmer, uncovered for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, and then spoon over potatoes in baking pan.
In a large bowl, whisk together eggs and milk and pour evenly over mixture in pan. Sprinkle with cheese. Bake, uncovered for 30 to 35 minutes or until knife inserted near center comes out clean. Top with more cheese before serving, if desired. Let stand for 10 minutes before serving. Makes 12 servings.
Peach Cobbler
Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees and melt 1 stick of butter or margarine in a 9×13 baking pan. Pour a large can of peaches or 2 smaller cans (juice and all) into the melted butter or margarine.
In a mixing bowl combine:
1 cup sugar
1 cup flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
1 cup milk
Pour batter over the peaches and stir around enough to get batter into the corners of the pan.
Bake for 20-25 minutes or until the batter has floated to the top and crusted over. (If the crust us not a little bit dry already the cinnamon/sugar mixture will just soak in.) Sprinkle with a mixture of cinnamon/sugar and bake for another 35-40 minutes or until golden brown. Serve hot or cold.