Tree Pittsburgh’s Pawpaw Fest — introducing pawpaws to dinner tables once again
On Saturday September 23, Tree Pittsburgh’s annual Arbor Aid fundraiser is featuring something new and never seen before in Pittsburgh — a Pawpaw Festival!
This mysterious fruit, while unknown to many, is the largest native edible fruit in America. Found in deciduous forests across the eastern United States, pawpaw trees were once commonly foraged by Native Americans and early explorers. In fact many of our founding fathers, like George Washington and Thomas Jefferson, were fond of pawpaws. Even Lewis and Clark relied on pawpaws as a food source during their expedition out west.
However, once American society became established and modern agriculture became more prevalent, Americans stopped foraging for food. Unfortunately this led to pawpaws being branded as “America’s forgotten fruit”…until now.
As popularity for native edibles and foraging grows, Americans are beginning to reintroduce pawpaws to their dinner tables once again. These days it is possible to find pawpaws at local farmers markets and grocery stores. Many orchards grow them and sell them across the country — allowing all to experience the pawpaw! As a matter of fact, it is possible to find pawpaw trees in parks and along many streets in Pittsburgh.
Pawpaws are harvested in late summer and enjoyed for their delicious flavor. Pawpaws are sweet and custard-like, many describing the taste as a cross between a mango and a banana — making them perfect for a variety of recipes including ice cream, pies, custards, marinades, vinaigrettes, barbecue sauces, even alcohol! With this unique fruit the possibilities are endless. Filled with vitamins, minerals, healthy fats, antioxidants, and amino acids pawpaws aren’t just good, they’re good for you.
Want to learn more about this native fruit? Come to Tree Pittsburgh’s Arbor Aid and Pawpaw Fest to experience the magnificent pawpaw for yourself! There will be a variety of pawpaw related speakers, food, games, and products for everyone to enjoy.