The pawpaw (also paw paw or paw-paw) is a fruit that is 3 to 5 inches long. The pawpaw tree, Asimina triloba, grows in the non-coastal parts of the southeastern quarter of the USA. The pawpaw is related to the cherimoya and soursop, not the papaya. Pawpaws taste and feel somewhat like bananas, and can generally be used in recipes calling for bananas.
Pawpaws are nutritious fruits, better in most ways than bananas. Pawpaws have more protein, fewer carbohydrates, more fat, and about the same amount of potassium. The fat is better, being more monounsaturated and less saturated. Pawpaws have much more iron, zinc, phosphorus, calcium, copper, and manganese. Unlike most plant foods, pawpaws contain all of the essential amino acids.
Fresh pawpaw is very perishable, lasting no more than 3 days at room temperature. It will keep for about three weeks at a temperature of 4°C to 7°C (40°F to 45°F).
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Pawpaws ripen during a four week period in August/September, after which they are harvested, making them available from late August to October.