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What Pawpaws taste like Part 2

Please see Part 1 https://www.reddit.com/r/Pawpaws/comments/1dmh4o0/what_pawpaw_varieties_taste_like_part_1/ posted earlier about people's preferences, my own biases in pawpaw taste information etc. More posts from forums on pawpaw variety tastes from gardeners (not descriptions from nurseries or from growers selling these):

"I must say pawpaw are different. Pawpaw tastes more tropical fruits , strong aroma, sweeter than stone/pom fruits . I had sugar apple before. Since it is a relative of the sugar apple , paw paw and sugar apple share something in common like the sweetness, like a little gritty taste sometime mixed in the creamy texture. But I like pawpaw’s texture and aroma is better than sugar apple’s.
I had Mango, Shannondoah, West, and Central. Mango has the largest size but less strong tropical flavor/aroma. I am not impressed by West. Shannondoah are on the small side. One I tasted was a little bland . But the second I ate was sweet so I think the flavor has a lot to do with the location of the fruit on a tree, or size of the fruit. Maybe bigger size will taste better. Central is similar to Shannondoah in sweetness and texture. I like to eat at really ripe at point that the skin starts to brown. If you buy a Cherimoye at supermarket, you want to buy the one that has brown skin. Same way go with the pawpaw. When the skin turned brown, the sweetness, the aroma, the creamy texture are all at the peak. So all the pawpaw I ate so far are all sweet, it is only the matter of degree of the sweetness."

" I really envy people who live in areas where they say the wild pawpaws all taste good. I’ve found some patches where all the fruit I tried there were just awful. Some can have no sweetness, little good flavor, and high amounts of bitterness. Those cause me to spit them out almost immediately."

"I have found that green ones, or unripe ones are lack of sweetness, or flavor. But all the ripe ones I have tasted were sweet in certain degree, some were sweet like a good mango, maybe even sweeter than a good mango. For those who are not familiar with tropical fruits’ flavor may not like pawpaw."

"I get different impressions from different cultivars though. Like Shenandoah to me is more banana than anything else. Maybe a bit of mango. When I talk about the more “heavy flavored” cultivars like Susquehanna, it’s more tropical flavors like pineapple maybe stronger mango undercurrents.."

"Well, I continue tasting more paw paw today. One was very ripe West. This time West tasted very good. I think the one before just not ripe enough to allow its flavor and sweetness to develop. Ialso tasted a very ripe, medium size Mango and Shenandoah. Both have good flavor and very sweet but Shenandoah has a better texture. So far, I like Shenandoah better."

"Thoughts on Maria’s Joy - lightly fruity in a way different from Allegheny. Soft texture. Very smooth and creamy almost to the point of oily, yet still juicy. Texture more like a very light pudding than a custard or flan texture. Some coarseness near skin, very aromatic. A lot of pawpaws have phenolic flavors in the background often strongly. I can taste it in the foreground with Maria’s Joy but it’s very faint and doesn’t linger. Clean finish on the palate."

"Taytoo - Sugar rush. Fruity, but less so than Allegheny. It has some richness that Allegheny doesn’t have with brown sugarish notes. I taste some phenolic flavors in the background, which aren’t particularly strong. My friend perceives no bitterness. I gave a Taytoo to Ken, Neal’s friend, who says that it is less complex in than Allegheny in fruity flavors. Smooth, creamy, and just juicy enough. Notes phenolic flavors but not like NC-1 with some bitterness. Fleeting coconut flavors. Even though Taytoo is an older selection, I think it can stand pretty well up to Maria’s Joy, which is newer 2nd gen. I think Taytoo may be one of the best first gen cultivars I’ve tasted."

"All the pawpaws have a singular common thread where they all taste like pawpaws (no surprise). I think it’s more of us picking up hints of flavor. Just like when people describe some russeted apples tasting a lot like pears. It’s still a apple. It just has hints of pear flavor. It’s not an apple that tastes like a pear. It’s an apple with pear flavors. That’s my take on it anyways."

"Shenandoah- very mild, not particularly sweet. Good texture. Similar to Jerry's Big Girl perhaps - banana, vanilla but not strongly either one. Honestly these came off as somewhat bland to me. Jury is still out.
Mango - on softer side, sweet. Definitely has a unique taste in there. I can see how folks would say it’s mango-like. Could also be described as creamsicle or orange push-up. This variety had the most prominent special flavor and frankly made me wish I had it in my orchard. Very cool.
Wabash - very tutti-frutti flavored, maybe a little vanilla. Has a note that is hard to describe, somewhat plum or berry-like. excellent pawpaw. Not the “creme brûlée” that I’ve heard about.
NC -1 - very small so hard to judge but nothing bad here. Just an average pawpaw.
Allegheny - very similar to Shenandoah but sweeter. Also very small fruits so hard to fully judge."

"I seem to remember presentations from KSU that said Wabash had creme brûlée flavor, but in my limited experience with Wabash, I would not describe it that way. It’s also tough because all pawpaws taste maple/caramel/flan when overripe. That could be confused with custard or brûlée."

"Sunflower is middle of the road for me. I’m not thoroughly impressed, but it’s also not something I’d put at the bottom of the must try list. Everyone has varying taste preferences as I’ve come to learn, especially with pawpaws."

"Speaking of differences in fruit grown in the south vs north the NC-1 I received from you was very good. It had a nice tropical flavor and was not overpowering. Nc-1 I got from an orchard in KY was way too much for me. I actually didn’t eat anymore pawpaws for a few days because of it. The Susquehanna I received from you was a lot less strong as well. The mango was interesting. This was the first time I’ve tried it. It was firmer than I expected. It had a little more unique flavor than most pawpaws I’ve had."

"Lehmon Chiffon had some pretty interesting flavors but hoping for bigger fruit in the future. The soft texture is not my favorite but it’s tolerable"

"I’ve sampled several varieties over the years but other than this year with my first home orchard harvest, I’ve not had a lot of repeat exposure to many varieties. So, taking things with a grain of salt, ones that have made an impression on me are:
KSU Chappell
Jerry’s Big Girl
KSU Atwood (mine were hit or miss but good ones were great)

"My favorites would be
Maria’s Joy (I only tried it this year, need a few more chances)
maybe Atwood (I haven’t tried much of it)"

" They attended a pawpaw tasting at KSU and got to try around 20 varieties. He said that Susquehanna, Chappelle and Benson were superior to all the others in taste and texture."

"I did have one large scale grower tell me once that Benson was cloyingly sweet."

"I have Mango, Susquehanna and Wabash, Mango fruit is more different than the other two. I don’t notice a huge difference in taste between varieties but there is a big difference in when the fruit is picked. I am not a fan of the overly ripe fruit so try to pick it right before they turn soft and mushy. "

"KSU Atwood fruited this fall with the best tasting Paw Paw flavor I have ever had. It was like a mango mixed with sweet pineapple and banana."

"Prima 1216 is strong. It’s more like a Susquehanna or maybe an NC-1 than a Shenandoah."

"Taste is always subjective and seems particularly so in pawpaws. But for what it’s worth, I tasted my first Tropical Treat fruit this year, and I thought it was excellent. The Tropical Treat fruit was smaller on average, but I would prefer it. I think the name is very appropriate too - much more mango-like than the others I mentioned and no aftertaste at all."

"There is nothing wrong with Tropical Treat but if you are just getting a few pawpaws I would lean more towards KSU Chappelle, Potomac, Atwood and Shenandoah. They are larger and higher quality fruit. I have Tropical Treat but it is more of a collectors pawpaw for people that have all the others and want a few more unique ones."

"Changing my taste rating of Shenandoah. I let one get real brown and ugly (“disgusting” as some friends call it) and man was it good."

"KSU Chappell is far from bland here- a fabulous rich, bold taste, second best pawpaw I’ve ever tasted. And Maria’s joy is far from “intense” as grown here- it’s blah, meh, nobody home."

"I don’t find Wabash to be intense or complex in terms of flavor. It’s pretty mild tasting to me. It is very sweet though, to the point that that’s predominately what I taste from it. Can taste quite caramel-like the more it ripens, but they turn brown really fast and have more of a burnt sugar taste then. Texture is pretty firm with a very slight grittiness."

"I typically taste 3 main flavors in a pawpaw: banana, melon/cantaloupe, and a tropical fruity flavor that reminds me of tutti-frutti or bubblegum. (I’ll just call this flavor: fruity) Some seem to call that flavor mango but I never really taste mango. Most wild pawpaws I’ve tasted in western PA are a combination of banana and cantaloupe flavors with a small amount of fruity flavor.
I took notes on the varieties I tried from the York festival and here is what I wrote:

Shenandoah - creamy texture, mildly flavored though still very good, not too much banana flavor, banana & fruity flavors are subtle, no melon flavor, has a vanilla flavor to it that makes it taste a lot like vanilla pudding
NC-1 - banana/cantaloupe, flavorful, tastes like most wild pawpaws though a good version of those, not much fruity flavor, a lot of banana flavor, fairly strongly flavored overall
Susquehanna - very sweet, firmer, smooth texture with light orange color, a lot of fruity flavor, a bit of cantaloupe flavor, hardly any banana flavor
PA-Golden - tastes similar to most wild pawpaws (banana/melon), has noticeable bitterness to pulp, especially near the seeds, not as good as the better wild ones I’ve tasted
Allegheny - difficult to pin down in terms of flavor. Came to the conclusion that it has a very well balanced mix of all 3 flavors (cantaloupe/banana/fruity). Hard to taste any 1 flavor distinctly. Some bites did have a stronger cantaloupe flavor to them

Looking back at this, my conclusions are that:
Shenandoah is more uniquely flavored than most, more mild than most, easy to eat, and generally pleasing.
NC-1 is a typically flavored pawpaw that is good for those who like the ones that are more strongly banana flavored.
Susquehanna is a good for those who like a sweeter, richer, and more tropical flavored pawpaw.
PA-Golden isn’t one that I would recommend for flavor due to it’s bitterness and NC-1 tasting like a better version of it’s flavor profile.
Allegheny has a well-balanced flavor profile. I wish more wild ones tasted like this, since the banana flavors tend to dominate, but with Allegheny the melon and fruity flavors shine through better."

"Chappelle and Shenandoah do not taste similar, at least to me. Strength of flavor for those you mentioned would go something like (lightest to heaviest): Shenandoah, Atwood, Mango, Maria’s Joy, Sunflower, Chappelle, Wabash, Potomac, Susquehanna."

"I agree with this assessment and order of flavor profiles. Chappelle is a full flavored delicious cultivar that has the best of the flavor of Susquehanna without the overpowering part. It’s just about perfect for me. Others in that ball park are Potomac, and Jerry’s Big Girl."

"Pawpaw tastes differ. There are plenty of pawpaws I have no care for that others do: NC-1, Prima, Cawood, a bunch of unnamed seedlings, etc…If you like NC-1 or Prima, you’ll probably like Cawood."

"Here Maria’s Joy is a disappointment for taste. Meh, nobody home. Might be different for you. And I don’t recall Halvin being rated very high in the taste department, seems to have faded into obscurity."

"Ohio #1 is mine. It really probably should be 1-1, because it’s the first in row 1. It’s a mild pawpaw similar to Shenandoah maybe with a bit more grain texture.
Sunsprout - is a suspected Sunflower seedling. Mellow flavor similar to sunflower.
Carmelo - More of the caramel flavor you’d associate with darker fleshed or richer pawpaws like Susquehanna but less strength.
Cherimo West and Garage West are not the same. Garage West is more coconutty. Cherimo West is more cherimoya like."

"Halvin’s Sidewinder is consider heavy (tasting) and despite the relatively deep yellow, Halvin’s is considered light to medium."

"‘Mango’ is awesome. It was my favorite of the few trees still with fruit when I visited Jerry Lehman’s orchard last Fall."

"Al horn is coconutty in my experience, yes. I have a seedling too and it also has this flavor."

"I have been to three KSU tastings, two of which I took notes, and the Ohio pawpaw festival twice
KSU Benson I dont think it is as good as the Susquehanna but it is up there. I loved it the first time when it was still called 7-5. The second time I noted a bitter aftertaste, but I think it just may have been off that year or maybe I got a little of the skin’s flavor.
KSU Chappelle I tried this at least twice when it was 4-1 and noted caramel in it’s flavor profile at least one of those years. Again, I was impressed enough
KSU Atwood I believe I tried it at one tasting and liked it, although not as much the cultivar believed to be it’s seed parent, Susquehanna.
Mitchell: good flavor but a bit bitter close to the skin.
Quaker: Very bitter, very grainy, flesh, no after taste.
Estill: Very wild pawpaw taste.
Wells: Very wild pawpaw after taste."

OK it is 5AM time for some sleep. If you want more on flavors I can try and do a third post. That one would take a day or two and the information is more widely scattered,. Won't be available to respond to comments for a bit. Enjoy.

10:30 UTC


What pawpaw varieties taste like Part 1

Someone requested more information on the tastes of different varieties. Since I have doing some pawpaw flavors research I came across some quality information located in one general spot, rather than a million posts on forums spread out in a million different places. First some important things for people new to pawpaws to understand.

  1. The very same pawpaw fruit, shared amongst several people at the same time results in different people detecting different tastes (to a degree), always keep this in mind.
  2. The state of ripeness of a given pawpaw will affect its taste. Some like soft green "ripe" pawpaw, others prefer "completely ripe" that is a brown splotchy looking fruit, often softer still, more aroma. Both are ripe, one is ripe, the other is fully ripened on the tree then on the countertop for a few more days, after which it starts going bad. Some prefer the "ripe", some "completely ripe". The pawpaw taste can be tuned to different secondary flavors, ripe will give you good pawpaw flavor, completely ripe may bring out additional flavors. Based on what you like you can pick at the time give you your favorite flavor, but your neighbor might prefer the completely ripe.
  3. Pawpaws can range from mild to rich in flavor. People definitely have preferences in this. In general, someone who never had a pawpaw ever given several to taste, about 60% go for mild, 40% rich. So if you are new and never tasted one, getting a mild one often the best first choice, but since you need two for pollination getting a mild and rich covers both bases. This is just flavor preferences and as I said, people prefer different things. One of the problems common with wild pawpaw, but also found in some cultivars is a bad after taste. Most of the cultivars don't have it, but those that do it is described as a bitter, sort of metallic taste. Most cultivars don't have this. However some are more sensitive to this after taste than others. One person may not taste it at all, and another notes a mild metallic after taste sharing the same fruit. Much more common with wild fruit, but some people are more sensitive to it, and will detect it in some cultivars, certainly not most.
  4. Different textures in different cultivars, some creamy, some avacado texture, others firmer. People's preferences differ.
  5. And onto my biases. I do not take the grower's (person who developed the cultivar and is selling it, or the nursery selling it) word on taste. I have found those not selling these cultivars often have very different opinions on the quality and type of taste than the grower's do. There are more than a few newer cultivars out there that are mediocre. A lot of these somebody did one cross, grew the tree, slapped a name on it, claims it is better than those older cultivars that resulted from a planting of 1000 trees to find one good enough to be sold as a new good tasting cultivar. These growers are everywhere on social media, not always identifying themselves as such. Consequently, and this is very important, I am only sharing taste reports here based on people who do not make money from these. Just regular gardeners like me and you who have tried a cultivar and shared what they thought it tasted like. Also note, you can get great and not so great fruit from the very same tree on the same day. And on occasion the fruit taste improves a bit in its second or third year of fruiting, or if it was thinned from over bearing etc. I will have to split up the taste reports into multiple posts but remember, two people describing different flavor profiles are not wrong for the myriad reasons noted above. So there is not going to be one answer, you need to asses your own tastes when deciding which you think you would like best when buying cultivars. These reports are taken from forums, people I know are not growers or nurseries.

First my own experience with Mango pawpaw variety I fruited in Texas. Tasted just like those reddish colored mangos you find in the store, I mean just like it. Texture is is softer, overall sweeter than mangos in the store (store mangos are not picked ripe, keep that in mind), juicer.

The following are quotes from gardeners collected from forums:

"Wilsons is strong - closer to that phenolic wild taste, which makes sense since it’s an older cultivar."

"There are some pawpaws like Sweet Alice that taste amazing in the south but quite bland or not up to par north of mason dixon line. Shenandoah (to me at least) tastes ever so slightly different here than it does from my friend in Ohio."

"Mango, Shenandoah, Allegeny are the ones that don’t seem to usually win awards, but are ones that remain high on everyone’s list (like within top 10 maybe top 5). So it’s the universality of their taste, texture, etc… that works well across all palettes. The people that like strong tastes still appreciate them but for the one that only like lighter flavors they are the only apparent options."

"My neighbors sampled basically one of each fruit minus Wilsons, Rappahannock, and Wabash due to low availability.
2 like strong flavors.
top choices were NC-1, Susquehanna
4 like lighter flavor profiles.
top choices were Shenandoah, Allegheny, Mango"

"NC-1 - Rich isn’t the word that comes to mind. Balanced with depth. Not really fruity/melony. Strong[er] but not sharp. Some aftertaste. mid to late. Nice smooth texture.

Wilson - Rich, somewhat sharp. A little fruityness. Lingering phenolic aftertaste. late

Susquehanna - strong flavors, rich. Noticeable phenolic aftertaste, some grit. late

Potomac - balanced. somewhat rich with depth, creamy. not fruity. some grit to it. Aftertaste. late

Wabash - fruity (melony), sharp flavor. Somewhat rich tasting. Clean taste. smooth texture late

Shenandoah - Clean, very light tasting. Slightly fruity. Clean finish. early to late

Allegheny - Small fruit. Strongly fruity flavor (but not overpowering) with a clean finish. No sharp flavors. Clean finish. early to mid.

Mango - Fruity like Allegheny, but not as pronounced. Less phenolic flavors, clean finish. Mellow. Large fruit. Early.

PA Golden - No idea which PA this is. It is slightly sharp but it’s quite strong. It doesn’t have a strong aftertaste or anything, but the pawpaw flavor is definitely there from the first spoonful. Mid.

Wells - Fairly balanced. Similar to Potomac but more fruity. Size mostly same if not smaller than Allegheny. Clean finish. Mid."

"I’ve tasted about 10 different named varieties, probably about 6-8 together at one tasting, and although I feel like I’m fairly discerning (but not especially picky) with differences in varieties of other fruits, I’m like your neighbor that thinks there really isn’t much difference between selected/names varieties of pawpaws."

"If I was making generalizations, I think I could use choose two words from a bank of four to describe 95% of all the pawpaws I tried so far (light, heavy, fruity, wild). I think I prefer all those that intersect with the fruity light with some in the heavy fruity descriptor area."

" I grafted prima received from friend just lives just north of Cliff England. He told me it tasted bland or at least not remarkable this year for him, first year trying it."

"Yes, I’ve noticed the same bitter after taste with several pawpaw varieties. The Peterson varieties are a lot better in this regard."

"I was very impressed by (KSU) Chappell when i tried it. Firm texture, distinct pineapple flavor, no off-flavors or bitterness. It was just one bite of one fruit but it’s the best bite of pawpaw I’ve had."

2019 Pawpaw Festival tasting results:
1st: Ron and Terri Powell - variety Shenandoah
2nd: Richard Owens - variety Jerry’s Big Girl (275-39)
3rd: George Hale - variety Wabash

Part 2 coming shortly (please not I may not be available to respond to posts immediately, these are user/eater knowledge collections).

07:57 UTC


Where to Buy Cultivars

I’m looking to buy some pawpaw cultivars. Everywhere I look Susquehanna (and marshmallow) is sold out except maybe for some rather large trees. I’ve read that planting larger ones might put the trees into shock or they might have a damaged tap root. Should I wait until I can find some smaller ones?

I may to wait till spring or fall to plant since I heard that was the best time to plant them. By that time will some smaller/cheaper trees be available?

Edit: In Dallas TX if anyone has nursery recommendations.

10:01 UTC


Pawpaw festival

Hello all. I am posting regarding pawpaw festival. Do any of you guys attend?

I hope that this is appropriate for the sub but DM me if you would be interested in making some easy money (packing and shipping grafted cultivars). Godbless and happy pawpawing :)

01:27 UTC


I have all sorts of questions about paw paw trees.

I tried growing two seedlings last year and they both died. I don't know much about them and neither does anyone else. I can't find them in any local nurseries.

Why have I never seen this tree growing wild in Louisiana? Can they be air layered and grafted easily? Who sells the grafted variety? Can you buy high quality scion wood and graft them onto sproutings grown from seeds, and would it be practical? Can paw paw tree's graft onto a different type of tree's rootstock, similar to nectarine, plum, and peach? Has anyone tried cultivating/hybridizing the smaller bush-like paw paw called Asimina parviflora, that grows in the south east?

I'm assuming that the trees are hermaphrodite and don't need a male and female. I'm also assuming that people are getting paw paw confused with papaya, because, according to what I'm reading, papaya needs male and female to reproduce.

This seems like an ignored fruit that should have lots of potential. It's hard to believe that the money hungry corporations haven't found a way to turn this into a money crop.

22:33 UTC


Is my sapling doomed

I planted a yearling under the shade of my American elm , it only gets morning sun it's in full shade from about noon to sunset. It was doing great, put out a bunch of new leaves added about 6 inches in height , and then the ohio heat wave hit.

It went from happy to leaf burn in one day. I put it under 50% shade cloth and continued daily watering but it's still dropped all but two small leaves. I'm keeping the shade cloth on it and going to continue watering but should I mentally prepare for a dead tree ? Thanks.

19:16 UTC


Grafting male and female on the same paw paw tree

Why can't male and female plants be grafted together so they are hermaphrodite? This seems more practical than growing two different trees.

14:50 UTC


Purchasing plants

I'm looking to get 3 or 4 trees (all different varieties) this year to plant in my backyard, and I'm curious about what people think would be the best way/place to buy them. I've found a few places online that offer pawpaws, but most seem to be around 2-4ft and cost $50 minimum. My other thought is to wait until September, when all the Pawpaw festivals begin - I'm within a 3hr drive of 4 different festivals - and try to get some seedlings from those.

Sadly, the nearest nursery that has pawpaws only has "American pawpaws", when I tried asking for more details, that was the most they could give me. I also found a semi-local place selling 5ft trees for 200+! So any suggestions? (I live in VA, within 30min of both the MD and WV borders.)

14:46 UTC


Pawpaw and shoots

I have a grafted pawpaw that is about ten years old. This year it sent up shoots that I have just let grow. Will the shoots be from the original tree or the graft? Could it be essentially self-pollinating in that case?

18:51 UTC


Seed coat stuck to sprout

I have planted a few PawPaw seeds about 2cm deep and almost all of the sprouts have the seed coat stuck on them. Is this normal and do the shoots automatically shed the seed coat over time or should I have planted the seeds deeper? I tried to remove the seed coat from a few shoots, but this didn't work very well. The cotyledons look strange to me. Any ideas on how I should proceed?



14:23 UTC


Any way to ripen a pawpaw off the tree?

I went outside to check on my trees to experience the horror of a branch that had gotten so heavy with fruit, it broke and tore the bark on the branch it was growing from.

The pawpaws on the branch are probably about three inches long, but definitely not ripe yet.

Any thoughts as to whether these might be ripened? Or are they just too immature at this point?

(Also I have shored up another branch for the same reason. I may need to drop the fruit load on it as well.)

16:57 UTC

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