Paw Paw (aka papaya)
Origin: Highlands – wet, cool
Plant: Sept – March
Harvest: Anytime except for Jan – April.
Paw paw take approx. 18 months from planting the seed to fruit production, so a nutrient rich soil is necessary for fast growth. Plant several seeds then select the strongest female plant to grow on. Only one male tree is necessary to pollinate the female trees, however, if you grow the red paw paw, you will not need to grow a male tree as the red is a hermaphrodite, meaning it has both male and female flowers to enable propagation.
Fruit is ripe when there is no green on the fruit. Eating ripe and green paw paw is most beneficial as an aid to digestion. Green paw paw can be grated for salads, used as a cooked vegetable in stews and is also nice stuffed and baked in an oven.
Medicinal Value: the dried seed of the ripe paw paw can be put through a food processor and ground to a powder. Sprinkled onto our food (and for livestock) it can be used to expel worms from the intestinal tract.