Thursday, October 13, 2011
We had a heck of a lot of pawpaws to work through, but we could only do half, because only half were ripe enough to process. D'oh! Hence the pungency of my foyer at the moment. I will have to pay the piper tomorrow, because when they're ready, they're ready.
We wound up getting 9.5 pounds of pulp out of about 20 pounds of pawpaws--pretty much a 2:1 ratio of waste to food. I was surprised they were that pulp-rich--those huge brown seeds, the size of limas, are packed in pretty tightly.
We fed the pulp into Ziploc bags and froze it forthwith to use through the winter.
There it is: the fruit of our labor. Almost ten pounds of pawpaw pulp!
I sent half home with Anne to see what wonders she could create. Needless to say we shared a newly baked pawpaw custard for breakfast on Sunday.
I went a little haywire on the nutmeg, but Anne was kind. We slurped it down. I have to say it was good especially when chilled overnight, so the flavor of pawpaw could pervade the whole custard. It bordered on elegant.
I beat two eggs with two cups of milk, a teaspoon of vanilla and 1/4 cup of sugar, added 1/2 cup of pawpaw pulp, added a rather too vigorous grind of nutmeg, and poured it into custard cups. Set them in 1" of water in a big Pyrex dish and baked at 325 for about an hour. They set up very nicely. Much better chilled than warm, surprisingly. It was kind of like a pawpaw flan. You turn them out of the cups and serve them upside down. Yum. Wish I had one now. Make that three.
Other uses for pawpaws, since you asked: Use it like bananas in breads, cookies, muffins. Use it in smoothies as you would bananas. (Cardamom sets the taste off very nicely). Flavor frostings with it. Make a yogurt sauce for spicy Indian food with it. My favorite use is in a cream sauce (start a white sauce using heavy cream and butter, and add about 1/2 cup of pawpaw, a squirt of honey mustard, a tablespoon or two of honey (sourwood is my fave!), salt and pepper to taste for a savory treat.
If you process your own pawpaws, be sure to get it done before they get too ripe, like my second 16 pounds did. (You'll know because they start turning black and get really soft). Overripe pawpaw skin won't squeeze off the fruit on one piece. It goes into little bits that can sneak through the colander. And the skin can be allergenic. Believe me, I know. I'm currently on pawpaw embargo. When I'm hive-free, I'm going to try a little bit of Anne's Grade AAA skin-free pulp. Cross your fingers for me. It would be a cruel irony indeed if the Pawpaw Queen were barred forever from enjoying the harvest, processing and consumption.
For more recipes, see this awesome link Anne found:http://www.pawpaw.kysu.edu/pawpaw/recipes.htm
What fun we had. It was so great to have Anne down to pawpaw country,
show her some nice birds
make the perfect BLT
give her some gen-u-ine Boston terrier love
see her soak it all up
and send her home with a new taste sensation. We love to share what's wonderful about southern Ohio!
Come back soon, Miss Anne! And bring THREE TOYS this time!