Wednesday, April 26, 2017

A Love Letter to Pawpaws





PAWPAWS!

Now that I have your attention . . . .  How many of you know what a pawpaw is?

For the longest time, I had heard of this thing called a pawpaw yet never knew exactly what it was, let alone even tasted one. Thanks to the brilliant writing of Andrew Moore, the mystery is over. Pawpaw, a fruit native to this country, was a staple in the diets of several Native American tribes as well as the settlers who came to this land. Throughout the years, pawpaws enjoyed a nice and well deserved recognition among people who lived in the Middle and Eastern part of the country. With a creamy custard/banana/mango/caramel flavour, pawpaws were THE fruit for a very long time. And then, it almost slid into oblivion.

Andrew Moore has carefully crafted a love letter to pawpaws and I'll be honest - I'm quite smitten with the fruit myself and I have yet to taste one. In his book Pawpaw: In Search of America's Forgotten Fruit, as published by Chelsea Green Publishing, he takes you by the hand and leads you through America's history by way of the pawpaw. He gives a detailed and interesting journey of the fruit that will leave you drooling and more than ready to eat your first pawpaw. He then continues to share the "love" by meeting up with pawpaw farmers and distributors, attending the Ohio Pawpaw Festival (I'm hoping to attend this year - woot!), and even going "hunting" with legendary people who fell in love with the fruit and never looked back. There is also a serious side to the pawpaw - not only is it nutritious, but it is also a major fighter in the war against cancer. Just let that sink in. A fruit, native to this country, has the possibility to ERADICATE cancer.

(photo from www.eattheweeds.com)

However, it's not just Americans who grow and love the fruit - according to Moore, other countries have taken up the rallying call of the pawpaw to grow it as well. More restaurants, farmers markets, and other establishments are looking into the pawpaw and liking what they see. However, as Moore points out (and this is in my OWN words), pawpaws seem to be the Diva of the fruit world - their skin bruises easily, you can't pick them before they are ripe or else they will go bad, you can't pick them well into their ripeness, and they have a very short shelf life. Is it really worth all the trouble, then? Why yes. Yes it is.

I had the pleasure of meeting Moore at a book signing at South Main Book Juggler and I have to say that it was truly a delight meeting him. Here was a man who could easily be called an authority of pawpaws; after reading the book, I know it for sure.

Pawpaws To The People!

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