Have You Eaten a Pawpaw?

Over the last few years, a friend in St. Louis has told me that he and his family go “pawpaw hunting” every year in the early autumn. Apparently this is the type that a unique fruit is available on random trees throughout the midwest.

I was at the Tower Grove Farmer’s Market a few weeks ago, and my favorite egg/Vietnamese coffee farm also had baskets of pawpaws. I’d never tried this odd fruit, so I bought a basket. Later in the same visit, I noticed that Whisk was selling pawpaw pop tartlets, so I picked up one of those as well.

We ate the pop tartlet first, and of course it was delicious. The fruity filling was complemented by the flaky pastry and glaze, so it wasn’t until later when I ate the fruit that I knew exactly what pawpaw tastes like.

To eat a pawpaw, you simply cut it open and remove several large seeds. You’re left with a custard-like filling that you can scoop out with a spoon.

The fruit tastes like a mango mixed with a banana. I found it quite tasty, and I only wish it were bigger (each half yielded only a few spoonfuls).

Have you ever tried pawpaw? What’s the last odd fruit you tried?

9 thoughts on “Have You Eaten a Pawpaw?”

  1. The only thing I know about PawPaws is that ‘little Susie’ got lost in a patch of them! Never tasted one. But she must have liked them! 🙂

  2. Sometimes people call paw paws “hoosier bananas.” I’ve considered growing paw paw trees before. I may still do it some day. The most interesting fruit I grow is a hardy kiwi vine that grows fuzz-less kiwis the size of small grapes. All you need to do is remove the stem and eat the rest of the fruit. They taste just like their bigger, fuzzier cousins. Plus, the leaves are beautiful. The male plants have leaves that are variegated with pink. I’ve eaten a lot of interesting fruit on trips to southeast Asia. A lot of which look very dangerous on the surface (literally). My favorite of those was jackfruit, which can sometimes be found in the states. It tastes like a tropical fruit salad.

  3. Excited to hear how much you liked them! I’ve never eaten one because I’ve never found one in the wild or seen them at the farmers market, but they seem pretty amazing. They’re the largest native North American fruit. I got so excited about them a couple of years ago that I planted 5 trees around my house, grown from seed, which means I’ve still got to wait at least 4 more years for them to begin fruiting. I’ll keep searching for them when I go out hiking, but I know I’ll have some soon enough. My mother grew up with them in the woods of Ohio, but she never ate them. She didn’t even know they were edible; she and her friends threw them at each other when they got mad.

  4. We live near the Cincinnati Nature Center and all of our kids have gone to the nature preschool (and some the K-2 school). It’s an awesome program where they go on hikes every day, rain or snow, and learning is based around nature and free play in the outdoors. Every year they go pawpaw hunting and have taught us all about pawpaws. We’ve even found them in our backyard.

    We also have this awesome store near us called Jungle Jim’s. They carry all sorts of foods from around the world. They are one of a few stores in the US which carry Durian – called the king of fruit and known for its odor when opened.

    The fruit I like that I find most people haven’t heard of is cherimoya. It’s so creamy and tastes almost like custard. Definitely worth a try!


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