This post, titled Paw Paw Tree Plant Information | A Unique Edible Tree, gives information on the paw paw tree that includes how to propagate, eat, and cook this medicinal tree.
The paw paw tree (Asimina triloba) is a deciduous tree (and can be a shrub) native to eastern North America. It has a growing to a height of 35 feet with a slight tropical look to it. It has edible fruit, possible medicinal uses, and is a good understory tree.
The leaves are simple, alternate and spirally arranged. The dark green, obovate-oblong, drooping leaves grow up to 12 inches long and 4 to 5 inches broad, giving the pawpaw an interesting tropical appearance. When bruised, the leaves have a disagreeable odor similar to a green bell pepper.
The flowers are self fertile having both male and female parts. They are about 1-2 inches across, rich red-purple or maroon when mature, with three sepals and six petals. Flowers occur in the spring right around the time the tree leafs out. Each flower contains several ovaries which explains why a single flower can produce multiple fruits.
The conspicuous fruits begin developing after the plants flower; they are initially green, maturing by September or October to yellow or brown. Pawpaw is the largest edible fruit native to North America. Individual fruits weigh 5 to 16 ounces and are 3 to 6 inches in length. The fruit usually has 10 to 14 seeds in two rows. Paw Paw brownish to blackish seeds are shaped like lima beans, with a length of 1/2 to 1-1/2 inches. Pawpaw fruits often occur as clusters of up to nine individual fruits. Ripe fruit is soft and thin skinned. The yellow flesh is custard like and highly nutritious with a tropical flavor that resembles a combination of banana, mango, and pineapple. Fruit of the pawpaw are eaten by a variety of mammals, including raccoons, gray foxes, opossums, squirrels, and black bears.
Trees are easily grown from seed. Pawpaw seeds must receive a 90 to 120-day stratification. Sexual reproduction by seed does also occur in the wild, but at a fairly low rate. This rate can be increased by hand pollinating the flowers. Desirable kinds (cultivars) of pawpaw are propagated by whip grafting. Paw paws spread locally primarily by root suckers.
The disagreeable-smelling leaves, twigs, and bark of pawpaws contain natural insecticides known as acetogenins. Pawpaw leaves and twigs are seldom consumed by rabbits, deer, or goats, or by many insects.
Fresh fruits of the pawpaw are commonly eaten raw, either chilled or at room temperature. However, they can be kept only 2–3 days at room temperature, or about a week if refrigerated
The easily bruised pawpaw fruits do not ship well unless frozen. The fruit can be blended into ice cream or included in pancakes. Paw paws are also used for juice-making, and made into a country wine.
American pawpaw is a plant. The bark, leaf, and seed are used to make medicine. *
In homeopathy, American pawpaw is used for treating fever, vomiting, and pain and swelling (inflammation) of the mouth and throat. Homeopathy is an alternative treatment method that uses extreme dilutions of medicines. *
How does it work?
American pawpaw has chemicals that might have activity against certain lung and breast cancers.*
- 1 c. sugar
- One Cup of milk
- 1 egg
- ¼ tsp. salt
- 1½ c. pawpaw pulp (peeled and seeded)
Place all ingredients into stew pan and stir together. Cook over medium heat until thickened. Pour into unbaked pie shell and bake until the crust is done.
(The recipes were sourced from www.pawpaw.kysu.edu/pawpaw/recipes.htm, but are no longer posted on their site.)
Pawpaw Pie or Parfait
- ½ c. brown sugar
- 1 envelope unflavored gelatin
- ½ tsp. salt
- 2/3 c. milk
- 3 eggs, separated
- 1 c. strained pawpaw pulp
- ¼ c. sugar
In a saucepan, mix together brown sugar, gelatin, and salt. Stir in milk and slightly beaten egg yolks. Heat and stir until mixture comes to a boil. Remove from fire and stir in pawpaw pulp. Chill until it mounds slightly when spooned (20 to 30 minutes in refrigerator). Shortly before the mixture is sufficiently set, beat egg whites until they form soft peaks; then gradually add sugar, beating until stiff peaks form. Fold the partly set pawpaw mixture thoroughly into egg whites. Pour into a 9-inch graham cracker crust or into parfait glasses and chill until firm. “Then lock the door to keep the neighbors out.”
- ¼ c. shortening
- 1 c. sugar
- 1¼ c. sifted flour
- One tsp. baking powder
- 1 c. mashed pawpaw pulp
- 1 beaten egg
- One tsp. baking soda
- 1 tsp. vanilla
Cream shortening and sugar. Add well beaten egg and mashed pawpaw. Sift together flour, soda, and salt. Stir into the creamed mixture. Add vanilla and pour in an 8 inch square pan or two round layer cake pans. Bake at 375o F for 50 minutes. When cool, frost with cream cheese thinned with milk, or with any simple white frosting. Decorate with pawpaw slices.
*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.
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