Pie, Recipe

Pawpaw pie is actually more American than apple pie

Still Life with Paw Paws

Thanks for joining me for the second installment of the “pawpaw diaries”. This weeks episodes features a video and recipe for pawpaw pie. Considering that pawpaw is the largest indigenous North American fruit, I think I’m justified in saying that pawpaw pie is more American than apple pie. Apples immigrated to North America with the European colonists while pawpaw was here long before they arrived.

Natural growing range of pawpaw

One interesting thing about the pawpaw tree is its flowers, which are tri-lobed and face the ground when in bloom. These funny flowers aren’t very fragrant and what little fragrance they have isn’t very friendly. Their smell has been likened to rotting meat which explains their native pollinators: blow flies, carrion beetles and the occasional fruit fly. I put my nose up to a flower in the Spring and really didn’t notice a smell at all. Pollinated flowers yield fruit that ripens by late September and early October here in Southwest Michigan. Ripe fruit drops from the trees and is a highly prized meal for deer, squirrels, fox, raccoons, possum and black bears. It’s rare to find an unblemished fruit on the ground. Usually they’ve been snacked on. The best harvesting technique I’ve found is to shake the tree and collect what hits the ground. You can admire my technique in the video included in my previous post on pawpaw.

Pawpaw Flower
Pawpaw Flower

The more I learn about pawpaw the more impressed I am with it. Why has no one ever heard of this fruit? Why can’t you get it in grocery stores?

Pawpaw at Whole Foods
Pawpaw at Whole Foods

Unfortunately pawpaw hasn’t quite made it mainstream… yet. While there are plenty of pawpaws feeding the woodlands creatures, they’ve only established themselves at local farmer’s markets and at regional grocery stores. Some of the disadvantages pawpaw’s have which are preventing them from being more mainstream is that they quickly ripen once picked, bruise easily and potentially ferment in their skin once ripe. Some varieties of pawpaw have shown to be better cultivars than others. The ideal pawpaw variety yields many fruit of large size with abundant flesh and few seeds. If Neal Peterson has his way, pawpaw would be seasonal staple around the country.

Neal Peterson tasted his first pawpaw in 1975 and since then he has made it his mission in life to develop pawpaws into viable cultivated crop. Over the past 30+ years he has created pawpaw varieties with outstanding yield, size, flavor and percentage of flesh. For those wishing to look into growing your own pawpaw, he is the authority and source for all things pawpaw.

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blog, Raw Food Adventures, Restaurant Review

Raw 2012 Calendar, Jamaica Retreat, LA Raw Reviews

Greetings boys and girls,

Blissings to you all as the holiday season approaches. Usually I have a lull in things to do as the holidays approach, not this year though. I’ve got a Thanksgiving potluck, a top secret raw Malibu mission in December and a Jamaica Retreat in January or is it a January Retreat in Jamaica? Oh yeah, and I can’t forget the Raw 2012 calendars, the holiday gift that keeps giving the whole year round. The calendar features 13 recipes complete with pictures and a virtual tour of Camp Rawnora. The calendars are priced to move at $10, with free shipping when you order 4 or more… as it says below.Raw 2012 CalendarNaughty or nice, anyone can benefit from having a Raw 2012 calendar… and if you’re really nice you can treat yourself to a Raw Retreat in Jamaica to start off 2012. Chase away the winter blues by basking in the sun while sipping coconut water at an ocean front villa in Jamaica. That’s only the beginning though, you’ll also receive hands on raw food training, fresh prepared meals, a visit to the famous YS waterfall and more. Just visit the events page or click this link to learn more about this event.

Jamaica Raw Retreat
Sun and raw food fun!

Now for some restaurant reviews… recently I visited LA to provide some juicing support for my friend Robyn who had her jaw wired shut as the result of a Sorority Weekend ATV accident in Mexico… girls gone wild, gone wrong. Robyn has a army of angels looking out for her and also a raw food chef. I cracked coconuts and made her green juice and in return she took me to 3 raw restaurants and watched me stuff my face as she sipped green juice through a straw. We visited Cafe Gratitude, Cru and Better Life Cuisine.

As I expected, Cafe Gratitude was amazing. If only I had known we were going, I would have fasted all day in preparation. Here’s a video review of our dining experience. I’ll be posting a review for Cru and Better Life shortly…. Keep it Live!

blog, Raw Food Adventures

A Worthy Cause in India

Anandi's Chef Day

Big blessings come in small packages and that is the truth when it comes to Anandi Vaithialing. I want to share a story about this amazing and inspiring individual that I met while I was working at the Tree of Life Rejuvenation Center in Patagonia, Arizona. Anandi was part of the Spring 2008 raw foods chef training apprenticeship program. She had made her way all the way from Auroville, India on the other side of the globe. When Anandi arrived I was working in the cafe at the Tree of Life as a chef and instructor. Physically, Anandi is tiny, literally 4 foot something tall and all of 80 pounds… if that. Her presence and radiance goes beyond physical appearances though. In that regard she’s a giant. Her love and glowing smiling cannot be contained, deflected or avoided; it’s pervasive and contagious. I remember the first hug she gave me, how she wrapped her hands around my waist and squeezed the life into me. Anandi introduced me and many of the people at Tree of Life to the intentional city and community of Auroville, India. Here’s a description of Auroville take from their website:

“Auroville wants to be a universal town where men and women of all countries are able to live in peace and progressive harmony above all creeds, all politics and all nationalities. The purpose of Auroville is to realise human unity.”

Several years have passed since I left Tree of Life and since Anandi graduated from the apprenticeship. We have stayed in touch and I was happy to hear about the fund raising project she began to bring a raw food center to Auroville. Construction began on the project back in April of 2009. At this time the grand opening is scheduled for February 21st of 2011. Though the date is set, they still need funds. Earlier in 2010 I attempted to donate to the project through Paypal but due to Homeland Security and the fear that fundraising projects may be terrorist schemes, the transaction did not go through. Anandi and Auroville did not give up and they have set up a fundraising donation page through razoo.com. I encourage you to consider donating to this noble endeavor and sharing the donation link with all your family and friends. If they are unfamiliar with raw foods please get them up to speed or refer them to this vegan raw food information link. Folks that donate $1000 or more are considered “Founders”. Being a “Founder” has its privileges…

You are invited to contribute a thousand dollars or more which qualifies you as a founder. In addition, I would also like to offer you a tasty incentive: you will be able to eat in this restaurant at any time during the rest of your life for half price. Now that is an offer which nobody would refuse! As a founder, you will never need any identification because your name will be carved in stone at the door!

I will send everyone who makes a donation a pdf copy of my raw food memoir recipe book Zen and the Art of Gadgeting – Just send me an email after you donate and I’ll hook you up! -livefoodexperience(at)live(dot)com-

Zen and the Art of Gadgeting
Over 20 Live Food Recipes!