I’m moving to a new apartment at the end of this month, and I’ll have a yard for the first time in my adult life. I’m super excited to plant a garden, and even though I’m stoked about veggies and flowers, it’s the thought of growing my own fruit that’s really driving me. I’m also a big fan of local food, so I thought that this Earth Day would be a great time to check out the fruits that are native to the Pittsburgh area.
Varieties of grapes, cranberries, and blueberries (my favorite!) are the best known North American fruits, but we also have others, like the pawpaw, black raspberry, and prickly pear fruit, as well as varieties of persimmons, mulberries, and strawberries. Who knew?
Image via The Phytophactor
I got three pawpaw seeds from backing a Kickstarter project a couple of years ago, and they’re currently living in pots at a friend’s house. They’ll take about seven years to start bearing fruit, but that is what they’ll look like eventually. The texture is supposed to be creamy and custard-like, with a flavor reminiscent of a banana or mango. Are you craving one yet?
Image via BrightBerry Farm
Black raspberries are smaller than the more common red raspberries, and have always been one of my favorites. They ripen earlier in the season, and have a sweeter flavor. I always just ate any that I could find by the handful, but they’re also used in tarts, turnovers, cobblers, and pies.
Image via National Park Service
Prickly pear fruits are the sweet side of this desert succulent. They do have to be peeled carefully, but the fruit is refreshing and sweet. It can be used in jams, candy, drinks, and more.
Image via Farming, Food, Gardening
The American Persimmon looks almost like a tomato (which, like the potato, is also native to the New World) but grows on a tree and is often used in pies and puddings.
Image via Watch My Food Grow
Mulberries are tart and tasty eaten raw, and they are also fermented to make wine.
Are you hungry for a new fruity flavor to rock your world? What are your favorite native fruits and ways to enjoy them? While you’re in a fruity frame of mind, head over and check out our fruit-themed merch!