A pawpaw can be eaten like a mango by first peeling off the outer layer of the skin and then eating it with a spoon. Ripe pawpaws are custard-like in consistency, and their flavor is somewhere between a banana and a mango. Seeds should be avoided because they are toxic, and flesh that is reddish should be cut out, as it is too ripe.
In the United States, pawpaws are the biggest native fruit that humans can eat, weighing up to a pound each. They also are rich in antioxidants, having as many as a cherry or cranberry, according to NPR.
Papaws can be difficult to find. For the most part, they are not grown commercially, as they cannot sit on a shelf for long. Also, their growing season is short; they are only ripe for a few weeks out of the year during late August. Nonetheless, they can be found at some farmer's markets, though they also grow on trees in the wild. When hunting for them in the wild, scavengers should look for shaded areas, as the trees prefer shade. The fruits look similar to a potato, and they are ripe when they are yellow and feel squishy to the touch, almost like an overripe mango or avocado. Green papaws are underripe, while brown ones are overripe.