Grown Here at Home / Pawpaws: The “forgotten fruit”

If you like to be outdoors, especially along rivers, you might have seen a green fruit that’s been around for hundreds of years and didn’t even know it.
Published: Oct. 18, 2021 at 7:29 AM EDT
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GALA, Va. (WDBJ) - While campers along the James River at the Gala River Front Campground enjoy the water and the beauty of this time of year. They might also find a “forgotten fruit” -- pawpaws.

“It’s a native fruit that most people don’t see. They grow mostly along rivers and creeks and shaded areas. This time of year, the fruit is ripe and it drops to the ground,” said Richard Thompson.

“He explained,” They’re called the forgotten fruit because back in the settlers’ times they were very important because they didn’t have bananas and whatnot. But as things got complicated, they became less available and they don’t keep very long, so people don’t know about them or have forgotten about them.”

The harvest season is short.

“They’re good for about two weeks of the year and then they’re gone for the year. The taste of them is unique. It’s kind of between a banana and a pineapple and mango,” Thompson said.

They can be used in all kinds of ways.

“We eat them raw. We’ve tried baking them, on the grill, drying them in a dehydrator. I put some in tea. It’s similar to mango flavored tea. My wife makes cakes out of them. Just however you would use something sweet. You can keep them in the refrigerator for a couple of weeks, and you can freeze them,” he explained.

If you happen to be spending some time outdoors along the water, look around. You just might find a pawpaw to eat.

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