When asked about Michigan-grown fruit, you may think apples. That’s very true. Besides apples, I love pawpaws. Pawpaws? I saw your surprised look. Yes, the banana-like, custard fruit that grows in Michigan and is sometimes called the Michigan banana or custard apple. Although I haven’t seen them available in any grocery stores, we are lucky to have a generous neighbor who’s been giving away free pawpaws grown in their yard for the past three years.
I brought a few pawpaws to my International Neighbors vegetarian cooking group for a taste test. All the ladies enjoyed the mango-banana-pineapple flavor and the creamy texture. When serving pawpaws, I wipe clean the outer skin and cut the pawpaw in half, lengthwise. Then I use a small spoon to scoop out the flesh. When the pawpaws are really ripe, the flesh becomes very creamy with an intense tropical fruity taste.
I have posted two recipes using raw pawpaw fruit. Why raw? Because the flavor compounds are very volatile. Heat will diminish the unique pawpaw flavor. If you’re interested, you can check out the recipes here:
This time, I decided to try something savory. This simple pawpaw salsa quickly became our family’s favorite dip. The ripe pawpaw adds a creamy texture and a pleasant tropical flavor with an amazing sweetness to the salsa. I happen to have some ripe beefsteak tomatoes, fresh cilantro, and green bell pepper from our garden. All the fresh ingredients make this simple pawpaw salsa definitely irresistible.
The preparation is really simple. After gently tossing all ingredients together, the pawpaw salsa can be served right away. When choosing a tomato for this recipe, you may want to pick a good quality tomato with more flesh. You can use a small spoon to remove the tomato seeds so the salsa won’t be too juicy.
This is not just a simple salsa for dipping your corn chips in. You can also add it on top of oven roasted tofu and make Tacos, sandwiches, or even dress up your favorite gluten-free, vegan burgers.
- ⅓ cup ripe pawpaw flesh
- ⅓ cup diced white or yellow onion
- ½ medium size green bell pepper, diced
- 1⅓ cups beefsteak or roma tomatoes, seeds removed and diced
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice, squeezed from half medium size lemon
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 teaspoon cumin powder
- 1½ tablespoons fresh cilantro
- (optional) ¼ teaspoon red chili pepper, minced
- (optional) ¼ teaspoon salt
- Gently toss all ingredients together and serve immediately.