*Pawpaw Fruit Trees*
By: TooshieGalore
29 November 2017

I'm in the pawpaw patch today and thought you'd like to come with me...

Pawpaw is a beautiful tree with thick leaves shaped like magnolia, It produces a lovely fruit that doesn't throw your blood sugar into great heights. If you can imagine a mango-banana fruit, that's exactly what a pawpaw tastes like but it's not something you're likely to pick from the tree and eat - the texture is custard-y. I've made pawpaw ice cream, bread, spreads, jellies and jams. It's so sweet that it doesn't require added sugar.

The pawpaw grows wild about everywhere, east of the Rockies. They grow in most soils with few pests. It will grow in shade but if you're looking for fruit, it will require full sun. If you want to grow pawpaw, you'll need at least two different varieties. They are pollinated by flies so they make a great shade tree for rabbits, cows, goats and other livestock. I highly recommend as an easy, productive tree requiring little spraying.

I have four pawpaws, topped so they only grow to about 10' tall. I prune them in dormancy, allowing sun in the center and for shape. They don't take up much room. I have them as part of my side-yard edible landscaping. Large purple flowers bloom in the spring, then fruit is set - hidden from neighbors under the leaves.

Fruit has a short shelf life. Once harvested, it must be processed quickly. Fruit does not store or travel well. That's why you'll never see it in the grocery and why most people don't know about it.

Fruit ranges from 3 to 4" in diameter and 2" by 6" oblong, depending on the variety. They grow in clusters like grapes. It's common to find clusters of 15 fruit but it's best to thin the cluster early in the growing season to about 4. Thinning allows fruit to grow larger and prevents smaller limbs from stressing under the weight. I often have to support small limbs bearing large fruit.

Harvest is over a four week window. I go out everyday to pick the mature, using care in handling the fruit. It bruises easily and bruising causes the meat to taste nasty. Once picked, fruit is good for only a day or two. So I process them immediately.

Kentucky State University is the leading authority on pawpaw production. Google "pawpaw KSU" and you'll find oodles of tips, hints and help in choose varieties for your location, growing, harvesting and production. Each September, KSU has a pawpaw conference - it's a full day of everything-pawpaw. It's free to attend and it's worth whatever it costs for travel.


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