It’s pawpaw picking season in Pennsylvania. But what can you do with it?

Written by on October 7, 2021

It’s pawpaw picking season in Pennsylvania. But what can you do with it?

By Megan Frank

October 7, 2021

Flowers on the pawpaw tree. Photo | Courtesy of Missouri Botanical Garden website

Recipes for Pennsylvania’s wild pawpaws are popping up on social media. 

Enthusiasts of the tropical fruit say pawpaw cuisine and drinks have endless possibilities.

But if you’re looking for a pawpaw tree in Pennsylvania, Amy Faivre, a professor of biological sciences at Cedar Crest College, says you may notice a rotting meat smell.

“The flower is kind of the purple-y maroon color and it gives off a fermented, yeasty kind of smell, which is much more attractive to fly pollinators,” said Faivre. 

The fruit looks like a small mango and Faivre says it’s been described as tasting like a pineapple or banana. 

“The fruit, the pulp and everything, is so rich and fleshy,” said Faivre. “And the skin on it is kind of thin. Then it kind of has this fuzzy, softer skin, and then the inside is super fleshy and juicy.”

She says Pennsylvanians have a long history of using pawpaws in pudding, bread, pie and ice cream. Patrick Shorb co-owns Holla Spirits in York, Pennsylvania. He makes pawpaw flavored vodka. 

“It’s a blend of the fruit because it’s very difficult to harvest. We blend pineapple and vanilla to create the pawpaw flavor, ” Shorb said.

Want even more pawpaw ideas? Just search the hashtag “pawpaws.”

“We’re just getting into this pawpaw cult, if you want to call it that,” Shorb said. 

If you want to eat one, pawpaws are ripe in Pennsylvania for about another week. Some local markets sell frozen pawpaw pulp, too. 

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