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What are papaws?
The papaw is a relative of tropical fruits. It has some other names; such as, False Banana, Custard Apple and Michigan Banana. The papaw is the only member of the Custard Apple family (Annonaceae) which grows outside of the tropics.

The tree is small and slender, about 8 to 12 feet tall. The flowers appear in late April or May. They are about an inch and a half in diameter. They are green at first and then turn purple before falling.

The fruit is three to five inches long and shaped like a kidney bean. The yellowish-green skin turns brown after being picked. The seeds are large and brown. The pulp is yellow and very sweet.

Gather the fruit after it falls and make papaw cordial or papaw chutney. Some places to see papaws are at Stratford, Washington’s Birthplace or Westmoreland State Park on the hiking trails. You can ask the Park Rangers about where they are, so you will know what they look like. Who knows! You may have some on your own Northern Neck property.

Papaw Cordial
Put fruit, with seeds and skin removed into a container like a quart jar. Use about 1 cup of pulp to 2 cups of sugar. Fill the container with Vodka. The ABC ladies say you can use cheap Vodka when making cordials, because nobody know! Shake every day for a month. Strain and enjoy!

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