Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Paw Paw Milkshake

My friend Dana spent the wee hours of the morning in the paw paw patch. This is her late- summer tradition. She also happens to be overly generous with her special harvest. Last year she gave me enough to eat my fill and make a batch of paw paw bread.
Today I ate one immediately on the spot and brought a few home to chat about on my beloved blog. Dana told me about one of her favorite ways to enjoy the sweet fruit, blended with raw milk in the form of a shake. That's that. I had to do it. But I am out of milk, so I opened a can of coconut milk and went that route. A touch of honey from a farm nearby, and I was in luscious, paw paw heaven.

A little background:
Paw paw trees are native to North America, and bear the most substantially sized edible fruit indigenous to the continent. The name is thought to come from the Spanish word papaya, perhaps due to the similarity between the fruit. Beetles, carrion flies and fruit flies are the tree's pollinators, attracted to the faint scent of the flower. Rotting meat and fruit help attract these pollinators to the flowers.
Chilled paw paw fruit was recorded as a favorite dessert of George Washington, and sustained Lewis and Clark during times of meager rations. Interestingly, the paw paw seeds are insecticidal, once used dried and powered by some Native American tribes to treat lice.
Known nutritionally to offer substantial quantities of vitamin A and C, the paw paw fruit aids in digestion due to the presence of papain which helps break down proteins. The ripe fruits are available only for a short time in the late summer and early fall. A brief and memorable seasonal treat!

Paw Paw Shake: Serves 2
*2 paw paws, skins and seeds removed
*2/3 cup coconut milk
*2/3 cup water
*2 tsp. raw honey
*4-5 ice cubes

or for those of you with access to fresh, raw milk...

*2 paw paws, skins and seeds removed
*1 1/2 cups raw milk
*2 tsp raw honey
*4-5 ice cubes

Whip all ingredients together in a blender. Pour into glasses and garnish with unsweetened flaked coconut.
Toast to your friends who go out of their way to shake the right tree!


  1. Looks like you got a little "you know what" with that paw paw. You always succeed in making simple gifts from nature look special and and luxurious. I love that about your blog. Keep it up! Mom and I are having the shakes for breakfast tomorrow. I should be energized and ready for a day of work!

  2. That paw paw milkshake looks delicious!

    There's apparently a paw paw festival in Ohio. I had never heard of or tasted paw paws before last year, when a member of one of my writers' groups went to the festival to try to get an article out of it.

  3. My mom used to tell us about the delicious taste of paw paws. I've still never had one. It's time to plant a tree! Then I will make that fabulous milkshake!

    You never cease to amaze me!

  4. This would be good for anyone with cancer. Paw Paw is the temperate zone cousin of the tropical Graviola which is known for it's anticarcinogenic properties.