Food, Food Artisans

Ari’s Holiday Gift Suggestions pt. 5


Stay tuned as we post selections from Ari’s list in the coming weeks!

Paw Paw Gelato from the Creamery

How can you not be biased in favor of a Native American fruit with a name like paw paw? And who doesn’t like ice cream? Gotta love that they’re also known as the Prairie Banana, the Hoosier Bananas, or the Poor Man’s Banana. How about a Prairie Banana Split with toasted black walnuts and whipped cream and a little chopped fresh paw paw?

The paw paw is my kind of underdog—it’s hard to grow and, like a lot of the old fruits, the yield isn’t all that great. It doesn’t ship well nor can you keep it indefinitely in the cooler. From a growing standpoint, it’s challenging because it’s got a long taproot so it’s hard to transplant. On the upside, once you get a paw paw successfully planted it’s apparently low maintenance. If you’re buying for nutrition they’re really high in vitamin C, riboflavin, niacin, and magnesium. Apparently paw paw stems and leaves are great natural pesticides, and they’re easier than many fruits to grow organically. And you know, there’s a town named Paw Paw right here in Michigan.


photo by Hannah Metler

Paw paws look a bit like mangos but with pear skin-colored flesh. Paw paws are ripe when their skin gets a bit darker and the perfume is more pronounced. It you get some that aren’t ripe, just leave them lie (or put them in a paper bag) for a bit to ripen up. When they are ripe, you take the skins off and mash up the pulp. Like avocados, the pulp will brown up pretty quickly so keep refrigerated and away from air. One challenge is that you have to get the seeds out. (Thanks Josh!) Seeds look a bit like lima beans and you don’t eat them. You can make the puree into custard, pastry cream, paw paw pie, or… gelato.

photo by Hannah Metler

photo by Hannah Metler

Slightly citrusy, kind of custardy when ripe, the paw paw’s flavor’s not strong. Rather it’s smoothly persuasive, never intrusive. It’s got a hint of lime, a little vanilla, papaya, maybe a touch of ripe pear. Ask for a taste for sure next time you see us!

We’ll continue to post excerpts from Ari’s list over the next few weeks. 

You can download the entire list in the November/December Newsletter!