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Paw Paw-The North American Forgotten Fruit

Updated on August 13, 2014

The American Banana For The North

Paw Paws flower in the spring and must have other paw paw trees around in order to develop fruits.  They fruit in clusters.
Paw Paws flower in the spring and must have other paw paw trees around in order to develop fruits. They fruit in clusters.
Image of a fruitning paw paw tree.
Image of a fruitning paw paw tree.
Next time you decide to make a fruit slushy try using a ripe paw paw instead of a banana.  Larger grocery stores now carry the paw paw or can order them in if you speak to the produce manager.
Next time you decide to make a fruit slushy try using a ripe paw paw instead of a banana. Larger grocery stores now carry the paw paw or can order them in if you speak to the produce manager.

Paw Paw-A Sweet Treat To Eat


The paw paw tree has to be one of the United States best kept secrets. It was mistaken named the paw paw when first discovered and thought to be related to the papaya but it taste closer to the banana or melon family. The tree is cold hardy even in the colder regions of the United States such as Michigan, Illinois, Iowa, Nebraska, Minnesota, and prolific in Southern states. It multiples fast by seed so must be cultivated or you could end up with a jungle very quickly of paw paw trees.

The fruit of the paw paw is oblong and green when unripe and turns a golden yellow as it ripens and when you can smell the banana-melon scent then the fruit is ready to be used. The fruit grows in clusters and is rich in Vitamins A and C. The enzymes in paw paw are said to help tone the stomach by aiding in digestion. The enzyme papin helps to digest proteins and is found in the fruit of the paw paw.

Paw Paws can be peeled and eaten raw. They can be used in fruit smoothies, slushies or tropical drinks for a delicious banana-melon flavor. The paw paw can also be used in baking just like a banana. Try substituting a cup of mashed paw paw instead of bananas the next time you make banana bread for a sweet surprize flavor.

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    • dvmurphy profile imageAUTHOR

      Denise Murphy 

      4 years ago from Waterloo, Iowa

      Thank you Martin for pointing that out and sorry it took me so long to contact you back but I had left this sight for awhile and recently started writing hubs again and found your information. Again thank you for the correction and additional information.

    • profile image

      Martin 

      6 years ago

      Your information on the paw paw is great and well-researched, except for one detail. The picture that you show of the cut "paw paw" is that of a papaya. They are not the same fruit (even when some people translate papaya as paw paw. Besides, some care should be exercised because people handling the paw paw for the first time might develop a rash on their hands and the leaves ARE poisonous. I used to own a fruit and vegetables business since I was 14 years old and planted some trees too. The picture that you showed here for paw paw is that of a papaya. The two fruits are not even related and when you cut both in half, the papaya flesh is orange with around and small seeds (like 3/16"), while the paw paw has white flesh with big, black seeds. The papaya fruit grows only from the trunk from female seeds extracted from the middle of the fruit, while the paw paw grows from the branches. You can see the papaya in this website: http://dailyfitnessmagz.com/2011/11/papaya-health-... and the paw paw in this other: http://www.tcpermaculture.com/2011/08/permaculture... Could you please make the correction so school children doing research do no get the wrong information? Thanks.

    • dvmurphy profile imageAUTHOR

      Denise Murphy 

      8 years ago from Waterloo, Iowa

      Well over 30 feet tall.

    • 4FoodSafety profile image

      Kelly Kline Burnett 

      8 years ago from Fontana, WI

      How tall does the paw paw tree grow?

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