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Winners: Judy and Paul

Tonight’s game was very close. Judy and Paul won, but finished barely ahead of everyone else – all the other players finished either second or third. One table of players was made up of guys from the local rescue squad. Even they had trouble with one medical question and did not know that measles can sometimes have a deadly complication occurring years after the infection. So better get your vaccine.

Good question!: What is the largest edible fruit native to the U.S.?

Choices: a.Apple   b.Tomato   c.PawPaw  d.Watermelon

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Answer: PawPaw

Here’s what Andrew Moore, author of “Pawpaw” has to say on the topic.

“Though the pawpaw grows wild in 26 states, the fruit remains a mystery to many Americans. This wasn’t actually always the case. At one time Americans were entirely familiar with pawpaws, going back to the Native Americans, who ate the fruit, who used the tree’s fiber for cordage and rope, on down through the earliest explorers, colonists and pioneers. The pawpaw was an important fruit and food item each year in late summer.

In many ways it’s a tropical fruit that has willed itself to grow in the temperate North, to grow where it probably shouldn’t. We know that over millennia it evolved to be here, but it is the only member of the tropical custard apple family that’s not found in the tropics.

The “pawpaw belt” is a term I use to refer to the states and regions where the pawpaw is native, where it grows wild. That encompasses parts of 26 eastern states. It spans from southern Louisiana to Ontario, Canada, from the Atlantic west to the Mississippi, and into Oklahoma and even Nebraska.

What happened? Why did the pawpaw disappear from our tables?

That’s the big question. That was the mystery that I was trying to get at in the book: How did Americans forget about this and why? The easiest way to explain it is that when Americans stopped going to the woods for food, they stopped knowing the pawpaw.

What does a pawpaw taste like?
The pawpaw is commonly described as a cross between a mango and banana. That’s true. But the first thing I like to describe is the texture. It has this tropical custard texture. That’s more similar to fruits you find in the Caribbean, fruits like guanabana and cherimoya, custard apples.

The best thing you can do with a ripe, fresh pawpaw is just to eat it out of hand. Cut it in half, scoop it out and eat it like a custard in a cup, which is essentially what it is.”

 

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