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Paw Paw, Hen of the woods season - more free food

The free food that turns up on our property never ceases to amaze me.
It's gastronomic heaven.   You may remember the Morels and the neighbors eggs.

Free Morels

Then the wild asparagus:
Free Asparagus
Not to mention the mountains of blackberries that we harvested this year:

This is the season.   This weekend we found to wonderful bounties.   The first was our annual Paw Paw harvest.  We've had a bumper crop this year and took several of them to A Tavola where Bonnie made some amazing Paw Paw sorbetto.   If you go to the restaurant they have it on the menu.  A rare culinary experience.

For those of you who don't know Paw Paw it is an amazing native fruit in the US.   Went out of popularity when supermarkets and mass production took over.  It does not keep or travel well.

It's sort or a cross between a banana and a mango.

Paw Paw straight off the tree

When it is soft you can cut it in half to reveal the flesh and the pits:

Freshly cut
The Pits have to be removed as they are bitter and cannot be eaten:

Exposed pits

Pits removed

Juicy flesh
Ready to eat

Once you have removed the pits you can eat the sweet, custardy flesh.   It's such an unusual, aromatic flesh.  A complex taste that changes as you eat it.  Unlike anything else I've ever tasted. 

Then, just to add to the excitement of the weekend. We were walking in our woods and I saw this mushroom.  I was sure it was Hen of the Woods.

Hen of the Woods
What did I do?  Checked on facebook...crowd sourced mushroom identification.   Risky, I know but I've cooked with Hen of the Woods before and I was sure that it smelled and looked right.

I must have picked about 5-8lb of the beautiful fungus.   As soon as I got it home I was itching to clean it and roast it.  

And cooked for breakfast with toast and scrambled eggs


  1. OK, so I'm in love with mushrooms, and Hen of The Woods is probably the loveliest of them all! I can imagine your excitement when you first came across your first one. Someday, I would like to live in a place where I could walk out into my yard and find something besides a Toadstool! Best of luck to you and yours.

  2. I saw one n a neighbors front yard one time,,he thought it was killing his oak tree. (lol) I took care of it for him.


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