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Program 1805

1. Kentucky's Pawpaw
2. Cooking with Pawpaws
3. Short Creek
4. Rural Post Offices
   (Flash® format only)
Season 18 Menu

Franklin County

For more information:
Kentucky State University Pawpaw Program

Producer: Brandon Wickey

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Kentucky's Pawpaw

A pawpaw tree laden with fruit in late summer begs for a closer look—and taste. The native tree has large tropical leaves and in late summer bears a green oblong fruit whose creamy golden flesh tastes something like a banana and mango.

Kentucky State University has the only university program in the nation devoted to the cultivation and propagation of the pawpaw as a commercial fruit. More than 2,000 trees from 17 states are planted on 12 acres at the KSU farm.

The pawpaw occurs naturally in the eastern half of the United States, and it was well known to the Native Americans. Thomas Jefferson grew pawpaws at Monticello, and the explorers Lewis and Clark found nourishment from Missouri pawpaws.

Pawpaw trees can be difficult to propagate. The seedlings need some shelter from sun and wind, and there must be two different cultivars for fruit set. Occasionally a wild pawpaw will have a bitter aftertaste. However, the pawpaw has few natural pests and the fruit is nutritious.

The KSU researchers are interested in the pawpaw as an alternative crop and are developing varieties that produce larger, tasty fruit.

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Fayette County

Producer/Editor: Brandon Wickey
Videographers: Brandon Wickey, Jaxon Combs

Cooking with Pawpaws

The pawpaw is great fresh from the tree, but it also makes a wonderful variety of desserts, from ice cream to pie, cake, and cookies. Chef Bob Perry shows us how to make pawpaw creme brulee at home. Bob will be cooking in his kitchens at the University of Kentucky's College of Agriculture.

Ripe pawpaws last just a few days at room temperature. If you pick them before they are fully ripe, you can keep them refrigerated for up to three weeks. The ripe flesh can be pureed and frozen for later use.

Pawpaw Crème Brulee Recipe

  • 10 egg yolks
  • 1 cup Bourbon Barrel Foods Bourbon Vanilla Sugar
  • 1 quart heavy cream
  • 2 cups pawpaw puree

Bring cream and pawpaw puree just to a boil.
Whisk sugar and egg yolks together.
Temper egg/sugar mixture very slowly with cream mixture until all is combined.
Cook in a double boiler for 15 minutes until the mixture will keep a line on the back of a spoon.
Strain through a fine screen and into ramekins or cups.
Place in a deep roasting pan and fill ½ way up with hot water.
Bake at 325 degrees for 30 minutes, allow to cool, then cover and refrigerate several hours or overnight.
Cover top with granulated or powdered sugar and place under a broiler or use a propane torch to caramelize the sugar.

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Pulaski County

Producer: Frank Simkonis
Editor: Kelly Campbell

Short Creek

Earlier this summer, Kentucky Life’s Facebook fans voted online for a story exploring the mystery around the naming of Pulaski County's Short Creek.

Short Creek is a small stream that exits one small cave and just a few yards away enters another small cave. Located near the community of Stab off Kentucky Highway 80 in eastern Pulaski County, the stream is actually a karst window—an exposed section of what is actually an underground river, according to the Kentucky Geological Survey.

Short Creek has been a favorite picnic site in the area for years. The water, since it comes from an underground cave system, is delightfully cold—in the 50s—in hot summers. Short Creek also attracts the interest of geologists from around the world who study the county's karst landscape, where underground erosion from rainwater dissolves the limestone rocks, leaving openings like the caves where Short Creek begins and ends.

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Leslie County

For more information:, run by a college professor in the Hudson River Valley, documents what's happening with rural post offices.

Producer: Dave Shuffett
Videographer: David Dampier
Audio: Roger Tremaine
Editor: Kelly Campbell

Rural Post Offices

When visiting neighbors can mean long trips spread across the county, the post office brings everyone and everything together in a central location.

In small towns across Kentucky that don't have home delivery, the post office is a lifeline for prescription medicines, checks, letters, and more.

A proposal by the U.S. Postal Service in 2011 to close thousands of rural post offices drew protests all over the country. Now the postal service has backed away from that idea, and instead is proposing shorter business hours. That plan would be phased in over a two-year period.

The post office serves as the social center of small communities, a gathering place where people catch up with their neighbors. We visit the small town of Essie in Leslie County and catch up with James Bowling, the current postmaster there, and talk about small towns and their post offices.

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SEASON 18 PROGRAMS: 18011802180318041805180618071808180918101811181218131814181518161817181818191820

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