By Annie Rose Ramos

BALTIMORE (WJZ) — Do you know what a pawpaw is? They’re native to North America and thrive in Maryland and you can eat them because they’re a fruit.

It also happens to be pawpaw season.

Which is why Forest Fleisher from Baltimore’s Orchard Project is going pawpaw hunting.

In order to find a pawpaw, you have to shake the trees. The ripened fruit will fall and are ready to eat when they’re soft to the touch.

She took WJZ to Woodberry Woods just off of Derby Road Wednesday to find a few pawpaw trees but Fleisher said the trees can be found throughout the city.

The pawpaw skin and seeds are not edible.

Baltimore’s Orchard Project and Tree Baltimore have been planting pawpaw trees and giving away tree seedlings so even more trees and fruit will be available throughout Baltimore.

“The more local and fresh fruit that we can provide to the citizens, the better,” Fleisher said.

But so many people in Maryland don’t even know about the trees or their fruit. Fleisher said she thinks that’s because the fruit rippers quickly, for a short period of time every year and you have to eat it quickly once they fall from the tree.

But if foraging for pawpaws in the wild isn’t your style, some look to an unofficial local pawpaw expert, Steve Marsh at Checkerspot Brewery.

People have been bringing pawpaws for years.

He uses the puree from the fruit to make ice cream, and of course, beer at his brewery.

“We put over three hundred and forty pounds of pawpaw pulp in that beer,” he said, pointing to his Maximum Fruitage Pawpaw beer.

He loves the flavor of the fruit. “They taste awesome, like a mango and a banana and it’s got this sort of custardy texture,” Marsh added.

Because the fruit is only around for a few days out of the year, he thinks that’s part of why they’re so special.

To learn more about how to get your own pawpaw seeds, reach out to Baltimore’s Orchard Project:  info@baltimoreorchard.org

And here is Steve’s recipe for his Pawpaw Ice Cream:

Checkerspot Brewing’s Pawpaw Ice Cream

Yield: 7 cups

Below is the recipe for this velvety and sweet summer treat:

Preparing the pawpaw fruit:

  1. For one batch of this recipe, you’ll need about 4 pawpaws (2 cups of chunky puree).
  1. To prepare the fruit for ice cream, similar to a peach, slice it lengthwise around the entire fruit deep enough to hit the large seeds.
  1. Give it a slight twist and the pawpaw will break into 2 halves.
  1. Use a spoon to scoop out the large seeds, then continue scooping, as if it were an avocado, to remove all pulp from the skin.
  1. Ripe pawpaw will have a yellow, custard-like consistency. If white inside, it’s not ripe.

Note: This fruit freezes very well so you can make pawpaw ice cream all year long!

Ingredients:

  • 3 cups heavy cream
  • 1 cup half-and-half
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 1 inch of vanilla bean (scraped) or 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • ½ tsp sea salt
  • 2 cups of chunky fruit puree

Instructions:

  1. Pour 1 cup cream, vanilla, salt, and sugar into a medium saucepan. Simmer to dissolve sugar. Do not bring to boil.
  1. Add remaining cream, half-and-half, and fruit. Stir well.
  1. Pour into mixing bowl, then wrap with saran wrap.
  1. Chill mixture in the refrigerator for at least four hours (preferably overnight).
  1. Remove and then churn in ice cream maker until the mixture solidifies.

**Don’t own an ice cream maker? No Problem.

  1. Pour the ice cream base approximately 1/3 to 1/2 inch thick onto baking sheets (or large shallow pans)
  2. Place in the freezer for approximately 1 to 1.5 hours.
  3. The ice cream will harden and can then be scraped off into a storage container.

Note: Ice cream prepared this way is much denser than chur

Annie Rose Ramos

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