I took a drive out to a forest in Pennsylvania with a known spot for foraging wild PawPaw. The broad leaves of the tree give a jungle like feel to the forest and they produce a sweet sugary fruit full of large seeds. The fruit tastes tropical and similar to a mix of banana and mango!
My companions as botanists had a secondary goal beyond enjoying the fruit in the shade of the forest. They plan to grow trees from the seed for their own backyards and to share through a native wild plant nursery. We tasted and collected many fruits to find the most choice potential seeds.
I gathered them gently in a basket hoping to avoid bruising the highly delicate fruit. Along the Way, I found some very large and abundant Spicebush berries.
and then some Jewelweed seeds that have a taste very similar to walnut.
With the found and foraged ingredients I wanted to make a pawpaw crescent roll over a campfire. To do so, I made a small fire to have just enough coals to cook over. The goal is to gently bake the crescent but not the pawpaw in a tinfoil pouch. A flipped it after 3 minutes and about 2 more minutes on the other side provided a delicious fruit filled pastry treat..
I’ve since planted pawpaw trees and now get to enjoy and share the harvest every autumn!
David Alexander is author of the Buzz Into Action & Hop Into Action Science Curricula. He specializes in making nature accessible to people and wildlife. You can follow him at www.natureintoaction.com