Curd is the Word

Scrumptious Pantry transforms unusual American fruits: paw paws, huckleberries and lingonberries

It all began with a paw paw.

The delicate short-seasoned fruit is indigenous to the Midwest but tastes of the tropics, with hints of banana, pineapple, papaya and mango. "It's absolutely amazing, but so difficult to work with–so you don't see it anywhere," says Scrumptious Pantry founder Lee Greene.

In proper Midwest fashion, Greene tamed the fruit in an onslaught of organic butter, sugar and eggs, transforming the fruit into a rich, unusual and supremely delicious curd.

The three curds (Photo: Kailley Lindman)

She recounts: "I made the curd, I loved it, and then I thought: 'What other native wild fruits have a similar disregarded and isolated existence as the paw paw?'"

She settled on huckleberries and lingonberries foraged from the Pacific Northwest. Her new line of curds recently hit shelves at Whole Foods stores across Chicago (and beyond; $8 per jar). The rose-hued lingonberry has the thickest texture and a cranberry-like flavor; try a dollop on zucchini bread or orange tea cake.

The huckleberry curd flavor is remarkably pure, tasting like the lovechild of a blueberry and a raspberry. We fantasized about spooning this one onto buckwheat crépes or atop a crisp.

And that paw paw version? It's a shoo-in for a weekend pancake brunch.

We're following Greene's lead, too: "I just scoop 'em out of the jar and put them straight into my mouth."