The Pawpaw Is America’s Forgotten Fruit

You’ve probably never heard of this secret American fruit. It tastes like a hybrid between a mango and a banana and is native to North America. It grows wild in 26 states but you probably won’t find it in your local supermarket. It’s called pawpaw and is sometimes referred to as “custard apple” or “poor man’s banana.”

Native Americans have been enjoying this fruit for a long time. It’s been said that George Washington ate the fruit for dessert and Thomas Jefferson was known to have grown pawpaw trees. It used to be super popular in other contexts as well, but as the country became more industrialized, a lot of people began to forget about the fruit.

It’s apparently very high in protein — higher than bananas, apples, or oranges. It’s also high in vitamins A and C as well as antioxidants and several essential minerals. But it actually doesn’t travel well — it bruises really easily and it has a short shelf life — so it’s difficult to track down in grocery stores.

It you want to find pawpaw, check out your local farmer’s market. It can be eaten fresh, or enjoyed in ice cream or baked goods. So, if you’re looking for something new, try tracking down this yummy, allusive fruit.