[NAFEX] Relative flavor of pawpaws

Richard Moyer ramoyer at gmail.com
Thu Dec 25 21:22:48 EST 2008

As for pawpaw taste variation, NAFEXer Adam Turtle noted that native pawpaws
have a wider range of flavor than any other native fruit.  Cultivars have
been selected with superior flavor.  Perhaps equally importantly, selected
for lack of offensive off-flavors.  When exploring native pawpaws in NE TN,
a local invited me to sample ones from his family farm, of which he was
particularly proud.  He said everyone call his unique.  Upon tasting, I
silently agreed that his were uniquely horrendous.

There are supertasters, who are exquisitely sensitive to certain flavors.  I
bought some of the better local, native pawpaws to a pawpaw meeting.  Some
pawpaw researchers thought they were equal to named cultivars they had
tasted.  Neal Peterson, upon tasting one of mine, asked if I would be
offended if he spit the remainder out.  Neal discriminates.

When I did a taste test with students, I realized too late that I should
have prescreened and excluded those few tasters unable to distinguish
between the fruit.  Whether they rated all ten selections equally good or
bad, those few contributed to a poorer data set.

And then there are those locals here who eat pawpaws after frost, when the
skins are black and fatty acids in fruit below are rancid.  Guess if you've
been up all night tracking coons, lots of pawpaws are edible!

Richard Moyer
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