It’s paw-paw time!

Standard

paw-paw1Right now there is the delicious aroma of paw-paws (also called Ozark bananas) filling my kitchen.  The taste is a cross between a banana and a mango, and they’re really good for you- a truly nourishing food.  Pawpaw trees grow wild in moist soil- they don’t usually grow very tall, and are often more of a bush or shrub.  When ripe, paw-paws are yellow with brown spots.  My dad used to wait until they were all the way brown to eat them- but by then they are way too ripe in my opinion.  Right now, the ripe ones are laying on the ground ready to eat, and some that are not all the way ripe, but loosening from the stem, can be picked and will ripen quickly on the kitchen counter.  I’ve read that paw-paws can be eaten as a vegetable when green, but I haven’t tried that.  There’s all kinds of recipes paw-paws, in case you have so many paw-paws that you aren’t able to eat them all before they go bad- they do go bad fast.  You can store them a little while in the fridge, but chilling them to below 40°F can change their flavor- though the pulp can be frozen with good results, but it’s better to freeze them quickly.  You don’t want to heat them too hot either, that destroys the flavor- but cakes and breads are good.  Use your recipe for banana bread to make paw-paw bread.

In the Ozarks, the paw-paw is considered a very magical tree.  It’s been used in love spells in so many peg spells, and for protection and revenge.  Even paw-paw seeds have been used for magic (they have lots of big seeds).  I think the reason it’s been used in love spells is because the fruit seems so exotic and smells so intoxicatingly good.  As for revenge (the seeds were thrown into coffins to insure revenge for a murder)- I think this was to make a paw-paw tree grow over the murderer’s grave… the flower of the paw-paw tree has the odor of rotting flesh.  The reason behind paw-paw trees being used in protection magic may somehow be related to the fact that the bark and wood of the tree are natural insecticides.

My dearly departed dad use to sing this song to me:

Where oh where is dear little Johnny?
Where oh where is dear little Johnny?
Where oh where is dear little Johnny?
-Way down yonder in the paw-paw patch.
Common girls, let’s go find him.
Common girls, let’s go find him.
Common girls, let’s go find him.
-Way down yonder in the paw-paw patch.
Pickin up paw-paws, put ‘em in yer pocket.
Pickin up paw-paws, put ‘em in yer pocket.
Pickin up paw-paws, put ‘em in yer pocket.
-Way down yonder in the paw-paw patch.

     

 

Advertisements

2 responses »

  1. Pingback: Remnants of Paganism in Ozarks Culture « Ozark Pagan Mamma

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s