Fruit: The pawpaw is the largest edible fruit native to America. Individual fruits weigh 5 to 16 ounces and are 3 to 6 inches in length. The larger sizes will appear plump, similar to the mango. The fruit usually has 10 to 14 seeds in two rows. The 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. The ripe fruit is soft and thin skinned.Harvest: Pawpaw fruit ripens during a four-week period between mid August and into October, depending on various factors. When ripe, it is soft and yields easily to a gentle squeeze, and has a pronounced perfumed fragrance. The skin of the green fruit usually lightens in color as it ripens and often develops blackish splotches which do not affect the flavor or edibility. The yellow flesh is custard like and highly nutritious. The best fruit has a complex, tropical flavor unlike any other temperate zone fruit. At present, the primary use of pawpaws is for fresh eating out of hand. The ripe fruit is very perishable with a shelf life of 2 or 3 days, but will keep up to 3 weeks if it is refrigerated at 40° - 45° F.
Sherrie has introduced me to this fruit through her butter recipe and I would love to share it with all of you that have the opportunity to either purchase or receive this amazing fruit.
From Sherrie: I peeled them or scooped out the pulp, cooked in 2 cups of water, mashing them with a wooden spoon until soft, then ran them thru the food mill. I added the pulp back to the pot and cooked it down on low for about an hour. It has the texture of applesauce, with a creaminess to it. Taste like banana, pineapple, mango and sometimes you detect a melon flavor, and a hint of strawberry. It's a very magical fruit. LOL The butter turned out really good. I will for sure be making more next year. I got 11 -1/2 pints from this batch, plus about 4 oz left for eating now
5 lbs pawpaws
2 cups water
1/2 c bottled lemon juice
3 c sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
Wash and peel pawpaws, put in stainless or enamel pot, with the 2 cups water and 1/2 cup lemon juice, without removing seeds.
Cook until soft, run through seive or food mill.
Add pulp back to pan, add sugar, and cook down on low until mixture thickens.
(About an hour)
Turn off heat, add vanilla and stir well.
Ladle into prepared pint or 1/2 pint jars to 1/4 inch headspace.
Remove air bubbles, add more preserves if needed to reach correct headspace.
Waterbath for 10 minutes.