Last night, when I went to check if my sedum were flowering (they weren’t), I could smell ripe fruit. Pawpaw fruits were ripening and some had fallen on the ground, so I picked them up and brought them in.
The pawpaw (Asimina triloba) isn’t well known, but it is a tropical-looking fruit tree that is native to much of eastern North America, from Michigan and Ontario south almost to the Gulf of Mexico. I planted three trees about a decade ago; now, they are 15 to 20 feet (4.5 to 6 m) tall and have been producing fruit for about five years. They flowered in May.
There are many more fruit on the trees this year than in the past.
It’s difficult to describe what pawpaw fruit tastes (and smells) like. Some say it is like banana custard, but I don’t think so. Others describe it as a mix of pineapple and mango, which is more accurate in my opinion. To me, it smells…very fruity. We haven’t yet tried the fruit this year, but we made ice cream with some last year. It was all right, except for a bitter aftertaste. It may be that the pawpaw isn’t for me; some people simply don’t like it.
I will post more about the pawpaw after we eat some of this year’s crop. Hopefully my opinion will improve. Although the trees have produced fruit for several years, last year was the first year we were able to try any. I may not be a fan, but the squirrels like it and took all the fruit in the previous years. For more information about the pawpaw, you can refer to websites from Kentucky State University, Peterson Pawpaws, or Midwest Fruit Explorers.
Update: I shared pawpaw fruit with some people at work. We decided that it smells like pineapple and mango, and there was also banana in the flavor when we ate it. The fruit is rather soft and mushy. Best of all, there was no bitter aftertaste! It may be that the bitterness comes from the seeds, and care is needed in removing them.