‘America’s best secret fruit’ is ready to ripen in Missouri

ST. LOUIS — With autumn in full swing that also brings the ripening season for what has been described as “America’s best secret fruit,” the pawpaw. The pawpaw is a fruit that matures from a tiny banana into a banana-mango-pear-like object with a custard-consistency in its interior.

The pawpaw tree is common in the rural midwest and is Missouri’s only native tropical tree. In the spring it blooms dark-red, drooping flowers whose pistils eventually form into this unique fruit.

The fruit itself comes in a greenish-blackish exterior that is actually the largest edible fruit tree that is native to North America.

The flavor of the fruit has been described as a cross between a mango and a banana and with occasional hints of pineapple.

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