Eat one of these & feel like you’re in the tropics! Once considered an exotic fruit, papayas’ have become much more available due to their popularity.
This lovely fruit’s shape is spherical, like a pear or avocado, that can grow to a length of 20 inches. The ones you will probably see at Ralph’s, however, will usually measure about 7 inches and weigh about one pound. The skin will usually be thin, smooth and green with blotches of yellow, pink, and/or orange as it ripens.
It has a wonderfully soft, butter or melon-like consistency and a deliciously sweet, musky taste. Once ripe, the flesh is soft, juicy, and coloured in a rich orange with either yellow or pink hues. In the centre cavity, black, round seeds are encased in a gel-like substance.
Although this imported fruit is offered year-round, there is a slight seasonal peak in early summer and fall.
Being thin-skinned, this delicate fruit bruises easily when ripe. This is the reason that papayas are harvested when green, to survive the rigours of being transported.
In this case, partially blemished or mottled yellow skin is better than a smooth-skinned green beauty. The spreading yellow colour indicates the softening of ripe fruit. Check, also, that the fruit yields slightly too gentle pressure, like a ripe avocado. Choose fruit that has none to very few black spots and avoid damage to the skin, bruising and those that are overly soft.
Green and firm papayas may be used in cooking or in a cold dish like an Asian salad. Please note that you will not experience the characteristic sweet juicy flavour of a papayas’ ripened flesh
Refrigeration, in general, will slow the ripening process in fruit intended for cooking. Bring them back to room temperature, however, before eating.
1. Reddish-orange skin that are slightly soft may be stored in the refrigerator and eaten within one or two days to fully enjoy their flavour.
2. Papaya with patches of yellow colour will take five to seven days to ripen. Ripe yellow papayas may be covered in the refrigerator for up to a week.
Leave unripe papayas out on the counter, or in a paper bag with a banana to speed up the ripening process. Ripen firm fruit at room temperature in a loosely closed paper bag.
Rinse under running cold water. Simply cut in half lengthwise and scoop out seeds with a spoon. Then the skin is peeled off and the flesh is sliced or cut as desired.
A great way to eat papaya is just like a melon. For a little extra zest, you can squeeze lemon or lime juice on top.
To prepare the fruit for a salad or other recipes, peel it with a paring knife and then cut into desire size and shape. Another method is to use a melon baller to scoop out the fruit of a halved papaya. When adding to a fruit salad, please do so just before serving as papaya may cause the other fruits to soften.
Papayas can be enjoyed many different ways:
- The most common use of papaya is fresh as slices or chunks and placed in fruit salads. Sprinkle papaya with fresh lime juice or enjoy as is
- Bowls – Unpeeled, scooped-out halves may be filled with sherbet, yogurt, ice cream, or salad
- Juice – Prepare by blending diced papaya and adding water to liquefy
- Cook – Green, or unripe, papayas may be prepared like winter squash
- Use as a meat tenderizer – Papaya contains the papain enzyme, so green fruit chunks can cover meat or fowl before cooking to enhance tenderness and flavour
- Salsa – Mix diced papaya, cilantro, jalapeno peppers, and ginger together as a great accompaniment for shrimp, scallops, and halibut
- Cold Soup – ombine papaya, strawberries, and yogurt in a blender
The seeds are also edible and nutritious with their large peppercorn appearance and peppery taste:
- Crushed and sprinkled on salads in the same way as crushed peppercorns
- Left whole as a unique garnish for a fruit salad
This fruit is packed with enzymes, vitamins, and minerals. The papaya-enzymes like Papain are especially concentrated in the half green fruit, the ripe seeds, as well as in the leaves of this plant. Minerals like potassium, magnesium, and calcium are contained and is the most alkaline fruit we know. This wholesome fruit contains so many anti-oxidants: more beta-carotene than in carrots, and more Vitamin C than in kiwis, besides having a lot of bioflavonoids.
“Acidosis” is when the body gets too much acid from cooked food, sugar and meat consumption – a person becomes irritable and depressed. Some doctors recommend eating a papaya for breakfast to gain more energy, less sleep, a good mood, and clear thoughts.
Papaya (raw, cubes), 1 cup
Total Fat: 0.19g
*Excellent source of: Vitamin C (86.5mg)
*Good source of: Folate (53.2mcg)
*Foods that are an “excellent source” of a particular nutrient provide 20% or more of the Recommended Daily Value. Foods that are a “good source” of a particular nutrient provide between 10 and 20% of the Recommended Daily Value.
- Papayas are native to Central America, ifirst enjoyed by the Latin American Indians. Spanish and Portuguese imported papayas to many other subtropical countries including India, the Philippines, and parts of Africa.
- Called the “fruit of the angels” by Christopher Columbus.
- The papaya-enzymes help to digest proteins, fats, and starches. When Columbus reached the South-American shores, the natives greeted him with a feast. HIs sailors over-ate, and the Indians released their stomach pain by offering papayas from the rain forest. Norman Walker’s book on juicing explains that the papaya-enzymes help cleanse the intestines of protein residue and nourishes the endocrine system.
- The red Indians of South and Middle America are the “inventors” of modern enzyme therapy! They use this fruit for healing wounds, a weak liver, constipation, guarding against worms and parasites, inflammation and skin problems, as well as for treating cancer.
- In the 20th century, papayas were brought to the United States and have been cultivated in Hawaii, the major U.S. producer since the 1920s. Today, the largest commercial growers of papayas include the United States, Mexico, and Puerto Rico.
- Papaya helps the body to produce more Arginin, which is an essential amino acid that activates HGH, a growth hormone that is important for cell rejuvenation and rebuilding of cells in the liver, in muscles and in the bones. Skin also benefits – it gets smoother and is able to regenerate. For example, the beautiful women who are constantly exposed to the Tropics’ sun apply unripe papaya on their face for removing wrinkles and old skin cells.