You Should Never Eat The Skin Or Seeds Of Pawpaw. Here's Why

Pawpaw fruit has been on the rise in popularity for several years. Claiming North America as its place of origin, the pawpaw is a tree fruit that has a soft green skin outside and a yellow fleshy fruit with shiny brown seeds on the inside (via Serious Eats). Donna Davis, who manages a pawpaw orchard in Maryland, described its taste in an NPR interview as "a cross between maybe a mango and a banana. Some people taste little hints of pineapple." This fruit is captivating our imaginations. Its texture has been characterized as creamy and "custard-like," earning it the moniker "hipster banana." Even the likes of George Washington was allegedly a fan of the pawpaw, enjoying it as a cold dessert.

While you can use them in pies or smoothies, many people just eat them as is. They're just that good. According to Very Well Fit, the pawpaw fruit is a little higher in calories than apples and oranges. A 3.5-ounce serving of the yellow flesh is 80 calories with most of those calories coming from carbohydrates. However, before you jump on the pawpaw bandwagon and start chowing down on this trendy fruit, there are a few things you need to know, starting with this: You should never eat the outside skin or seeds of the pawpaw fruit, and here's why.

The pawpaw fruit's skin and seeds can be toxic

Per The Earthy Delights Recipe Blog, before you take your first bite or slurp of this fruit, you need to discard the seeds and never bite into the skin. Both have proven toxic to humans. In fact, according to a Purdue University fact sheet on the fruit, the seeds contain vomit-inducing alkaloids in the endosperm. And if the seeds are chewed, a poison is released and they can wreak havoc on your digestive system. Interestingly enough, it was also noted that if swallowed whole, the seeds did not appear to pose these same problems. Still, it is recommended that pregnant women stay clear of this fruit altogether (via Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center). 

So, if you plan to eat pawpaws, make certain you pop out the seeds and dispose of them or plant them if you want to try growing the fruit. Pawpaw fruits do not have a very long shelf life. In fact, if you don't eat them within about two days they become a mushy mess. But if you happen have purchased a large stash of these from a farmer's market, never fear. They can be stored in the refrigerator for up to a week or in the freezer in a freezer-safe storage bags for six months, according to Serious Eats.