Wednesday, September 5, 2012

The great Paw Paw hunt

For years, Anne and I have gone looking for Paw Paws with no success.  I think we always started looking too late, but now I will always remember that Labor day weekend is the time to find ripe Paw Paws!

Clyde loves a visit to the water!
Paw Paw trees grow by rivers and are native to Virginia.  They have a tropical tasting, very soft fruit, that seems to have a fleetingly short season.

We didn't see a single paw paw on the walk until we had turned around and started walking back.  Then Anne started to see them everywhere!  We gathered up about 10 fruits in various stages of ripeness. 

We gathered Paw Paws and people!

We even taught a fellow hiker that the fruit was edible, and he wound up being a better paw paw spotter than either one of us.  It is not an easy fruit to see- Paw Paws are green and about the size of your fist. But once you know what you are looking for, it is pretty easy to spot them. 

Anne eating one on the trail!
The fruit is delicious raw.  The flavor is tropical, and pretty complex.  It has a soft texture, which made us wonder about what else we could make with it.  I will not lie, the first thing we thought to try making was a cocktail.  And so, the Captain Paw Paw was born.

Anne and Zak prepare the Paw Paws
First you take the skins and seeds off of the fruit.  This can only be done with your hands.

Then we added a simple syrup infused with star anise, black peppercorns and cardamom pods, then some dark rum, and finished the drink with fresh lime juice.  Delicious- not pretty, (kind of looked like gravy actually, so I didn't take a photo) but super tasty.  Valentines Day has chocolate, Thanksgiving has turkey and now Labor Day has the Paw Paw!


  1. They also make a fantastic custard style pie.

  2. Nice post! I planted 2 of the trees in my yard this year and can't wait to try the fruit. I wonder how long it will take them to start producing :)

  3. Great post! Labor Day... that is excellent for remembering when to find them! Also perhaps a new Labor Day weekend tradition!