Pawpaws in Kentucky!

Pawpaw trees can be found growing in thickets along the Eastern United States from New York to Florida.  This includes Kentucky.  You might even have some pawpaw trees growing on your property – they are common along riverbanks.  The tree has a slightly tropical appearance and produces a fruit, pictured below, that can grow up to 5 inches in length.  It looks like a green potato.  Kentucky pawpaw season is typically late August through mid-October and the fruit can usually be found at farmers markets and roadside stands.

The consistency is smooth and custard-like.  The mild, tropical flavor is described as a combination of banana, mango, and pineapple.  The fruit can be eaten raw like an apple or baked into breads and pies.  If eaten raw, remove the skin as it has a bitter taste.  Pawpaws are considered a low acid fruit so be sure to add lemon juice or citric acid when making jam.  The recipe below, provided by Kentucky State University, can be used to safely make pawpaw jam.

6 cups Pawpaw purée
4 cups white sugar
1 packet (1.75oz) powdered pectin
2 teaspoons citric acid
Preparation Processing
Wash and peel pawpaws. Quarter fruit while removing seeds.  Mash or blend fruit pulp until it forms a puree. Heat puree to a simmer in a large stockpot on the stove.  Slowly stir in sugar.  Continue to simmer for 8 minutes, stirring often to prevent sticking.  Stir in pectin and citric acid.  Bring to a boil and turn off heat.  Pour into hot half-pint jars.  Remove air bubbles, wipe jar rims, and apply two-piece lids.  Process in boiling water bath canner for 10 minutes.

Reach out to your local County Extension office for information about safely preserving pawpaws and other foods. Discover more about pawpaws from the experts at Kentucky State University here:

Source: Annhall Norris, Food Safety and Preservation Extension Specialist