Monday, September 3, 2012

Going on a Pawpaw Hunt

The Pawpaw, also known as the Prairie Banana, the Ohio Banana etc. Around the Fresh Egg's Farm Homestead, we eat a LOT of bananas. We love them. They are so soft and tasty and delicious in a bowl of cereal...and also have a VERY large footprint. To say that we will omit bananas from our diet is just not likely; however, we've heard of a way that we can make that footprint a little smaller with the addition of pawpaws into our diet.
We heard of pawpaws just a couple of years ago, but never had the opportunity to try them. They aren't sold in grocery stores, because they don't have a very long shelf life. There is a Pawpaw Festival in Ohio (about 3 hours from where we live) - but it always falls on the weekend of both the Pork Festival (right here in our own community) and the nearby Wool Festival - and let's face it...fiber and racing pigs trump a long drive for some fruit.
We did plant two pawpaw trees on the property. I know, it's crazy to plant fruit that we've never even tasted - what if we hated them? If we hate them, we'd be happy to donate them to a school or shelter in the area. But, on the bright side - what if we LOVE them? I just wish we could figure out a way to try them out and know what to expect when we get fruit (in several years).
Last year; however, we heard, at another festival called the "Fall Gathering," at our local historical society that they had pawpaw trees right there in the forest area that surrounds the historical society property. At that time, it was past pawpaw season and we missed our window. But this year, I promised myself that I would remember to venture out and check those trees around September to see if we could try those sweet fruits.
Saturday morning, we got the kids ready for a hike and drove about 15-20 minutes from our house to walk through the property of the historical society and see what we could forage for. We walked through a corn field, along the edge of the forest - looking up, as much as we could, without tripping along the trail. We found leaves that looked similar to the leaves we see on our very small pawpaw trees.

This looks like the size and shape of the pawpaw leaves....but no fruit.
Hmmpt...keep walking...don't give up! Along the walk, we did find a few other cool things.
This is the style of door I want to use in the upper level of the barn. They had them on the stalls of their restrooms.
I just love the bark on this tree.

Well hello Caterpillar...don't you look beautiful today.
We saw tons of trees that looked like pawpaws - maybe we were too late again on the fruit...maybe we missed that window and would need to try again in a year. UGH. Disappointment! But then, WHAT is THAT??? We found a tree that had just a few of the little green fruits on some pretty high branches - I'm guessing that animals have taken their pick at the low hanging fruit. We worked to pull the tops of the branches down and reach those fruit. You could feel the excitement from the kids - they were proud that they help spot the fruit and couldn't wait to try it.
My little foragers - Mark, Gage, Drake and Cora.
Cora found some nice pieces of feed corn that were still in the field, after harvest. We also found a black walnut seed, a few other seed pods (Mark collects seed pods for teaching), and this is just three of the 10 pawpaws that we harvested.
The inside of the pawpaw - those brown pieces are pawpaw seeds - you don't eat those or the skin. But that sweet, cream colored flesh around the seeds is what you DO eat and it is DELICIOUS!
I can't wait until our pawpaw trees grow stronger and begin to fruit. I know it will be several years from now, but it will be great when they do. For now, we know where we can go to snag a couple each year and tide us over. They are free, delicious, natural and healthy - the perfect substitute for bananas!!!!


  1. It was a great hike - not too hot and the rain held off - and it was even greater when we struck gold with the paw paws :) Another great adventure! I Love You!

  2. Gosh, too funny. Sometimes I feel like we are just the same and others, so so different. Yep, I love bananas too. Fresh, in smoothies, on toast with sprinkle of sugar, in banana cake, dried banana chips pretty much anyway. As for pawpaw, that's great that you are growing it and yes, I am also growing something unknown - and I cant remember the name but its a little bush and comes out with something tasting pineapplely but its not - starts with G. Too Funny. We've pretty much got everything covered here on the fruit front. I can go into any store and buy just about anything - including pawpaw (grown in Queensland with all other tropicals). There are some ring-ins from overseas and occassionally you hear of farmers having to dump their crop because imports have been bought in for cheaper than what they can grow them. Its very sad. There's a bit of a movement going on (which Im jumping on) to eat locally and seasonally. Its winter here but if I wanted a pawpaw I would go about 1km down the road and get one. When we had a few tropical cyclones up in North Queensland a few years ago, we lost the banana harvest. Well, it was like the end of the world. Bananas went up as high as $15 a kilo making one banana worth about $4. Still they sold because you must have everything, right?? Im joking and making fun of us. It was such a drama, the banana price was reported on the news like it was a economic benchmark. They are back to a respectable $3-4 a kilo and we probably buy about 6 a week for Tom and I (Rob wont eat them). Actually, Im lucky, the boys dont eat much fruit so I get all of it to myself. Oh, Im going to throw into my bag of goodies for you, PawPaw cream - it fixes everything. Its used on cut, sores, baby rash, you name it. Im also, if customs allows it, sending you vegemite. Its a right of passage here and we grow up on the stuff (eaten on hot toast with butter).

    I love hearing of your family outings. So wholesome and bonding. I've tried to get my guys out but they are too used to comfort - too hot, too cold, too dirty, too scratchy, too too too. and no power points for their electronics gizmos. Did I tell you our camping trailer when fully set up has eight powerboards. Well youve got to have tv, playstation, phone chargers etc dont you. ve been asking to go waterfall hunting (maybe 2 hrs away) in the Ranges but no one is interested. PS. Rob did not get job he wanted - too many jobs on resume. What can I say! There are! Its a fact - so I'll cull even more off. I'll send you email about weekend at home.

  3. Lynda - I feel the same way, we are so similar, but so different :-)
    I've always been a hands on/let's just go for it kind of mom and thankfully Mark and the kids are happy to have the adventures. The "buy local" movement is happening here. The US has SO much that comes from other countries...a lot of our manufacturing has been sent to China, or other countries where the labor costs less than here. The farmers are so affected by weather here too. We have a lot of corn (mostly for feed and corn product...not so much for edible sweet corn) and soy bean around our area. There is a big push for not only eating local and supporting the local farmer - but to eat more naturally and fighting GMOs and companies like Monsanto.
    I can't believe the price of your bananas - a kilo is roughly 2 - 2 1/2 pounds - so at that high time, you were paying $7.00/pound (approx) and even now, you are paying around $1.50/pound. Here, we pay around $0.60/pound. Although it is Summer, transitioning into Fall here - we too can get most any fruit/vegetable we want year 'round...which if you think about it is great for convenience, but not so great for the Earth. We should learn to eat what is in season in our area. That's another reason why we want to grow so much here - we know what goes into our food, we only have to walk out to the front/back yard for sweet corn, zucchini, beans, cucumbers, peaches, pears etc. etc. etc. Additionally, we want to make sure that we can can/freeze/preserve in some way food to sustain us all year long.
    That's too funny about your camper - way to "rough it" - I'm sorry that your boys (hubby and son) aren't ready for the adventures that you want in life...You just need to visit here and go on our adventures :-)

  4. Yep, you are very lucky girl to have a husband that supports you and is on the same path. He might stray a little but it seems your core values and goals are the same. Go, right now and give him a big kiss for being who he is - not perfect but all yours.