Growing up as a child I enjoyed a wide variety of sweet homemade desserts such as kurma, bene ball, jalebi, fudge, and toolum, and paw paw ball to name a few. The list could go on, but one that stands out among all the sweets is paw paw balls. This green sugar ball drew a lot of attention due to its peculiar lime green look and distinct acquired taste.
I remember it as if it was just yesterday…..
Paw Paw Ball at Harvest Time
It was harvest time in Maracas Valley celebrated in honour of St Michael the patron saint of the parish. All the stalls were filled with all sorts of goodies. There was the cake stall with every conceivable cake and sweetbread you could think of made in the Caribbean, from sponge cake to coconut sweetbread to marble cake. Then there was a local produce stall, where you could get some provision like dasheen and yam, or an ice cold coconut water, the coconuts chilled in ice just waiting for you after Mass.
Then there was bran tub, a favourite of all children. It tested your nerves. Plus punch board, with blanks (not a favorite); Indian delicacy stall; Corn soup and geera pork stall; the ever popular Rings where the lone bottle of Vat 19 rum was placed prominently, especially for the men folk, and amongst all these exciting games there would be the sweets stall.
Sweets, sweets and more homemade sweets that your eye ball could take. You could actually get a sugar induced coma just looking at all these sweet goodies…..From sugar cake to tambran ball to toolum to our star attraction of today Paw Paw Ball.
At first, I always gravitated to the toolum or the tambran ball, but eventually I would have to try at least one paw paw ball. I couldn’t spend all my money on sweets because I still had other stalls to go to, and I only had a few dollars in my pocket.
The Bran tub stall had some kind of magical cord that would pull all the children to it; even me. What treasure would I find between all that saw dust? A toy car? A toy truck or a set of army men? all wrapped up in gazette paper. You would never know unless you paid for the chance…..Then it would be off to the tin pan alley to try my hand at knocking down some tins with three tennis balls per chance…….
Those were the days…..
Paw Paw Ball Recipe
Anyway, paw paw ball, this simple candy, has stayed a favourite with me from my childhood and now that I have learnt how to make it, it will be here forever for all to enjoy. Enjoy Paw Paw Ball and maybe reminisce a little like me 🙂
Paw Paw Ball
3 cups green paw paw (papaya), grated
2 1/2 cups granulated sugar
1/2 tsp green colouring
2 tsp lime juice
1 cup water
Place grated paw paw in a cloth and squeeze out the juice.
Place paw paw and sugar in pot and add water.
Heat over medium flame.
Add colouring and lime juice and stir occasionally. Lower the flame.
Heat until most of the water evaporates and the mixture starts to gel then turn off the stove.
Scoop up tablespoonfuls of the paw paw mixture and roll in granulated sugar.
Set aside to cool.
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