One thing I love to do when I travel is to “eat like a local.” I want to try the foods, and try to be as local as I can. The same can be done on Maui of course! Because of our awesome climate, fruit is one of my favorite eats on Maui. What is local? What is good? Next time you find yourself gasping for air at Safeway at the price of those apples (easily $2.99/lb), check out some local fruit instead! Of course, to continue to be a local check out a farmer’s market, the fruit is always more ripe and often less expensive too! So, what is the best fruit on Maui? Read on!
Top Five Fruits on Maui
Yee’s Mangos in Kihei
Okay, so these are even more than those golden apples at Safeway – I believe last time I asked, they were around $3/lb, maybe more. But, I promise you, these mangos are better than any you will find in a grocery store. I call them my breakfast candy! Yee’s orchard is in Central Kihei along South Kihei Road – next to Long’s Plaza, across the street from the Arts & Crafts Fair (by McDonalds). It’s ‘just a shack’ and sometimes you will see a peacock strolling along.
Find these at any farmer’s market. Apple bananas are about half the size of regular bananas. They are firmer, and even if the peel turns color, they are usually still firm. They have a bit of a tangy after taste (reminiscent a little of apple). Try them! There are different varieties so ask for assistance. Some are better for eating, others for cooking.
Also known as passion fruit. These are a strange leathery fruit that grow on a vine. The color (when ripe) can be yellow, pink or purple. If they look perfect, they are still sour. If they are starting to shrivel or look a little worse for wear, they are sweeter (though still tart). You cut them in half and scoop out the seeds and juice with a spoon. Yes, the seeds are edible.
Truth be told, I am not that big a fan – these are an acquired taste. However, if you can find a strawberry papaya, buy it! It can be hard to tell by the outside, but the flesh is more of an orange-red color and they are sweeter than the usual kind you can buy. They will be smaller. How to eat them – first cut off the end (by the stem), then slice lengthwise and scoop out all the papaya seeds. Please do not run the seeds through the garburator – it will plug it up.
Local hint, perk up your papaya by scoop lilikoi seeds/juice into the papaya’s cavity, it gives the papaya extra zest. You can also squeeze some lime juice over the papaya. Another friend sprinkles cinnamon over her papaya and fills it with blueberries.
Not available at the farmer’s market, instead you can find it at the grocery store, Longs or Costco. POG stands for Passion Orange Guava juice, usually made from concentrate. It was originally created by the old Haleakala Dairy on Maui (no longer in existence) and is now produced by Meadow Gold Dairy. Drink it straight, or mix it with vodka or rum. A favorite of mine is to make mimosas with POG and champagne!