Q: I have pawpaws for the first time, they are five inches long, much bigger around than bananas, green, and hard. How do I know when they’re ripe?
A: The fruit probably won’t ripen until September but keep an eye on the skin color in the meantime. As fruit ripens the skin will become progressively duller. Mash the skin with your thumb to check if it’s soft, much as you’d judge a mango or avocado. When it begins to give, ripeness is imminent. Shake the tree occasionally to see if one will fall off. Look for black splotches. If you see them on the skin the fruit is usually at peak ripeness.