Yes, you read that right. Our peanut butter fruit tree is flowering and fruiting. In the past, I’ve written about how part of the reason I write this blog is to keep better track of the plants we grow, because sometimes … well, we forget. This is a prime example of just that. A few months back, this tree started flowering in our garden. It has beautiful clusters of bright yellow flowers. My husband and I couldn’t remember what it was, and as I love flowers, we kind of assumed maybe it was one of the trees that we planted for the sheer beauty alone. We have a few shower trees growing, and though perhaps it was one of those. Then it fruited! The fruit looked like a peach or apricot. My husband had started some candy cots (a variety of apricot) by seed, but the flower didn’t match. I was sure it was some sort of stone fruit, because it looks just like a little peach or nectarine starting. I researched and researched all kinds of stone fruits, but none had the flowers to match what we had.
Then today, we checked out the tree again, and one of the small fruits had ripened. So I tore it part a bit looking for the pit, but it didn’t have a pit, it had a couple of little seeds. And then I tasted it … and it tasted like peanut butter! Yes peanut butter! We had gotten a few small fruit from friends of ours who have a farm near us, and planted it by seed. We completely forgot about it. But the taste is clear, it tastes just like peanut butter.
The fruit are small, too small to do anything with them really but eat them. They’re about the size of a grape. This fruit is native to South America, but are found in gardens and farms in Hawaii. They’re mostly considered an ornamental – the flowers are quite pretty. It’s a distant cousin of the acerola cherry, which is a little surprising as its leaves, flowers, and fruit looking nothing like the acerola. The seasons and pattern of flowering, however, are similar.
These are not grown for commercial use, so you’re not going to see it in a grocery store. They’re highly perishable, and should be eaten as soon as ripe. I’ve personally never seen them at a farmer’s market or had even heard of them until we saw them in our neighbor’s farm. You can put them in a smoothie, but that seems a little time intensive, so I don’t see us doing that much.
The season is typically June through July, although they can fruit as late as October. We have a handful on our tree now, but we also have new flowers on it as well. It’s the end of July already, so I suspect we’ll have some a little later in the season. Fruit should be picked when they’re hard and red in color. The birds will get to them once they’re soft. Once picked, they’ll ripen within a few days. They like full sun and well drained soil. They also grow fairly quickly, and fruit that falls on the ground will often sprout. This tree did grow quite fast. I think that’s part of the reason we didn’t realize what it was. It can start to flower and fruit within a year of planting.
Peanut Butter Tree w/small coffee tree growing underneath