Tonight at Vicia, an amazing restaurant celebrating a family birthday, I tried the Pawpaw fruit for the first time. It was offered after dinner as an ice cream; the fruit harvested from Southern Missouri. I learned more about this tree since all I knew about it was from a song I heard in childhood with the line, “Way down yonder in the pawpaw patch.” I never knew it was an actual tree. Or maybe as a child I never really thought about it.
Pawpaws are the largest edible fruit trees native to North America. They have large leaves and their fruit looks and tastes somewhat tropical. The flavor of pawpaw fruit is sweet and often compared to bananas and mangoes. It can be added to desserts like ice cream or substituted for bananas in recipes such as banana bread. My favorite fact about Pawpaws? They are the only host plants for beautiful Zebra Swallowtail Butterflies!