Monday, December 8, 2008

Finally, The Pawpaw

As I write this, the outdoor thermometer reads 14 degrees. Inside, I'm eating fresh, local pawpaw. How? I don't quite understand it myself.

At long last, my search for this remarkable fruit has come to fruition, and I thank those who have helped along the way. I had all but given up until last week, when I received a hot tip from where else but Ithaca, the Kansas City to my Fats Goldberg. There pawpaw were for sale at the Cornell Orchards store.

In addition to growing heirloom apple varieties with names like Sheep's Nose, Cornell has also raised pawpaws since the 1950's. By some accounts, the pawpaw season doesn't last longer than September, so you can imagine my surprise when the woman working the counter handed me several fresh specimens for fifty cents a pound. Pawpaws are equally famous for being delicious and perishable, so the fact that I got them this late in the season is truly confounding.

The fruit itself was everything I had hoped for. Just as I'd been told, despite the fact that the pawpaw is native to North America, everything about it seems downright tropical. It looks like a mango and tastes like a combination of banana and guava or cherimoya. Yet the pawpaw grows right here, in a region where the temp regularly dips below freezing, as it has at this very moment.

Through the ice on the windows I can see barren trees swaying in the wind, but I've got sweet, ripe pawpaw for my mid-morning snack. I'm certain that these are the only pawpaw still available anywhere in the world. If you live in Ithaca, rush to get the last few. If you live anywhere else, rush to Ithaca.

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Karen B said...

the thing that threw me about the pawpaw were the seeds--so big and so many of them! oblong too.

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