FRANKFORT, Ky. (WTVQ) – The pawpaw fruit has become largely forgotten but Kentucky State University is hoping to change that and it is getting some help from beer-lovers.
A pawpaw is a tropical fruit in the custard apple family but it can be grown in colder climates. In Kentucky, it grows in the wild.
“Pawpaws are native to most of the eastern us,” said Sheri Crabtree with KSU’s land grant program.
KSU has the only, full-time pawpaw research program in the world. It’s part of KSU’s land grand program.
“If you’re familiar with pawpaws in the wild, a lot of times they’re smaller,” said Crabtree. “We’re developing new varieties that have larger fruit, better tasting fruit.”
Some of the new varieties will be used to make a new Kentucky Proud Beer.
Crabtree explains the Kentucky Department of Agriculture contacted her about finding pawpaws to flavor the beer. Crabtree got the KDA connected with a commercial grower and supplied some additional fruit. Monnik Beer Co. of Louisville is brewing the beer.
“It will expose some people to pawpaw who may not have heard of it.”