Pawpaws: The Sweet, Succulent Fruit You've Never Heard Of

Cross a banana with a mango, and add a custard-like texture, a mottled green flesh, and a bean-like shape.  No, it’s not a new breed of Frankenstein Fruit concocted by government scientists. It’s the humble pawpaw, a large, tropical fruit that’s native to America, yet fell into obscurity once grocery stores replaced our need to forage for food.

Author Andy Moore tried his first pawpaw at the annual Ohio Pawpaw Festival. He had never heard of the pawpaw, and was surprised to discover they grow in 26 states and are still enjoyed in many rural parts of the country. Moore’s curiosity eventually, uh, ripened into a book, Pawpaw: In Search of America’s Forgotten Fruit. The work explores the history, culture, and origins behind the curiously-named wild treat.

Thanks to their relative obscurity, it’s hard to believe that pawpaw trees are actually the most widespread edible fruit trees indigenous to North America. They also have a long, illustrious history. According to NPR, Thomas Jefferson had pawpaw trees at Monticello, and shipped seeds over to France. Lewis and Clark snacked on pawpaws when they ran low on food. And in 2009, the pawpaw was declared the state fruit of Ohio.  

As Moore tells Paste magazine, pawpaws grow in states ranging from Oklahoma to Maryland, and are cultivated in Oregon, California, the upper Midwest, and New England. In the wild, pawpaws are typically found in shady, moist areas near rivers or streams. One place where you’re unlikely find pawpaws, however, is a grocery store. They have a short shelf life, plus farmers didn’t make a serious attempt to cultivate and domesticate the humble pawpaw until the 1970s.

Pawpaws are three to six inches long, with yellow flesh and dark brown seeds. They’re a versatile fruit, and can be baked into pies, frozen into ice cream, and blended into puddings and panna cottas. However, Moore tells Garden & Gun that he likes to simply slice them in half and scoop out the pulp—a fitting way to enjoy the sweet, sun-warmed flesh in full.   

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Ernest Hemingway’s Guide to Life, In 20 Quotes
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Though he made his living as a writer, Ernest Hemingway was just as famous for his lust for adventure. Whether he was running with the bulls in Pamplona, fishing for marlin in Bimini, throwing back rum cocktails in Havana, or hanging out with his six-toed cats in Key West, the Nobel and Pulitzer Prize-winning author never did anything halfway. And he used his adventures as fodder for the unparalleled collection of novels, short stories, and nonfiction books he left behind, The Sun Also Rises, A Farewell to Arms, Death in the Afternoon, For Whom the Bell Tolls, and The Old Man and the Sea among them.

On what would be his 119th birthday—he was born in Oak Park, Illinois on July 21, 1899—here are 20 memorable quotes that offer a keen perspective into Hemingway’s way of life.

ON THE IMPORTANCE OF LISTENING

"I like to listen. I have learned a great deal from listening carefully. Most people never listen."

ON TRUST

"The best way to find out if you can trust somebody is to trust them."

ON DECIDING WHAT TO WRITE ABOUT

"I never had to choose a subject—my subject rather chose me."

ON TRAVEL

"Never go on trips with anyone you do not love."


Ernest Hemingway Photograph Collection, John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum, Boston. [1], Public Domain, Wikimedia Commons

ON THE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN INTELLIGENCE AND HAPPINESS

"Happiness in intelligent people is the rarest thing I know."

ON TRUTH

"There's no one thing that is true. They're all true."

ON THE DOWNSIDE OF PEOPLE

"The only thing that could spoil a day was people. People were always the limiters of happiness, except for the very few that were as good as spring itself."

ON SUFFERING FOR YOUR ART

"There is nothing to writing. All you do is sit down at a typewriter and bleed."

ON TAKING ACTION

"Never mistake motion for action."

ON GETTING WORDS OUT

"I wake up in the morning and my mind starts making sentences, and I have to get rid of them fast—talk them or write them down."


Photograph by Mary Hemingway, in the Ernest Hemingway Photograph Collection, John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum, Boston., Public Domain, Wikimedia Commons

ON THE BENEFITS OF SLEEP

"I love sleep. My life has the tendency to fall apart when I'm awake, you know?"

ON FINDING STRENGTH 

"The world breaks everyone, and afterward, some are strong at the broken places."

ON THE TRUE NATURE OF WICKEDNESS

"All things truly wicked start from innocence."

ON WRITING WHAT YOU KNOW

"If a writer knows enough about what he is writing about, he may omit things that he knows. The dignity of movement of an iceberg is due to only one ninth of it being above water."

ON THE DEFINITION OF COURAGE

"Courage is grace under pressure."

ON THE PAINFULNESS OF BEING FUNNY

"A man's got to take a lot of punishment to write a really funny book."


By Ernest Hemingway Photograph Collection, John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum, Boston. - JFK Library, Public Domain, Wikimedia Commons

ON KEEPING PROMISES

"Always do sober what you said you'd do drunk. That will teach you to keep your mouth shut."

ON GOOD VS. EVIL

"About morals, I know only that what is moral is what you feel good after and what is immoral is what you feel bad after."

ON REACHING FOR THE UNATTAINABLE

"For a true writer, each book should be a new beginning where he tries again for something that is beyond attainment. He should always try for something that has never been done or that others have tried and failed. Then sometimes, with great luck, he will succeed."

ON HAPPY ENDINGS

"There is no lonelier man in death, except the suicide, than that man who has lived many years with a good wife and then outlived her. If two people love each other there can be no happy end to it."

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