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Earth Eats: Real Food, Green Living

Persimmons And Paw Paws: Cooking With Indiana Fruits

We’re focusing on Indiana fruits. Paw paws transform some sliced apples into a unique starter dish. Then, a recipe for traditional persimmon bread pudding.

"When you collect native things," says forager Tracy Branam, "you start looking forward to the seasons. You begin to get excited because it's persimmon season (left) or paw paw season."

Fall Is So Delicious

If you could imagine crossing a banana with a mango, then you’d get a Paw Paw. When you slice into the light green skin, there are a half-dozen big black seeds in the middle of the creamy, custard-like yellow meat. Chef Daniel Orr says you can eat them out of hand or use them in the place of persimmon pulp or mashed banana in your cooking. This Paw Paw And Apple Salad won’t make you sick with too much paw paws; it’s just a great way to celebrate a native fruit.

Gary Paul Nabhan is the author of a number of books, including “Where Our Food Comes From” and he’s also been called the Father of the Local Food Movement. But most importantly, he is an apple lover. “I love something called the ‘Kandil Sinap,’ which is a crisp, pale-fleshed apple that’s sort of teardrop shaped. It’s unlike any apple i’ve ever seen, and it just has a crispness and freshness kind of vanilla and cinnamon after-taste that are just stunning.”

From paw paws and apples, and now to another Indiana fruit – persimmons. The ripe ones look like very small pumpkins. Unlike paw paws, you can collect persimmons well into November. That’s because the trees ripen gradually so the fruit doesn’t all fall at once. If you’re lucky, you can collect fruit from one tree over six weeks. Tracy Branam talks about foraging for persimmons, and then we prepare a traditional recipe for persimmon bread pudding.

News Stories In The Podcast:

Stories On This Episode

Paw Paw And Apple Salad

If you could imagine crossing a banana with a mango, then you’d get a Paw Paw. The custard-like yellow meat is tasty served with apple slices.

Gary Paul Nabhan: “Father Of Local Food Movement”

Earth Eats' complete interview with Gary Paul Nabhan, an ethnobotanist, professor and author, who has been called the "Father of the Local Food Movement"

A Food For Fall: Persimmon Pudding

In Indiana, it just wouldn't be Fall without a pan of homemade persimmon pudding. Chef Orr shares his recipe on this episode of Earth Eats.

Annie Corrigan

Annie Corrigan is a producer and announcer for WFIU. In addition to serving as the local voice for NPR's Morning Edition, she produces WFIU's weekly sustainable food program Earth Eats. She earned degrees in oboe performance from Indiana University and Bowling Green State University.

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