It is fresh, it is juicy, it is nutritious, and it is brightly coloured, what other qualities could you ask of in a fruit? The usefulness of papaya is immensely underrated, and if you’re one of those in the habit of skipping papaya when you see them on the grocery shelves, you are about to be wowed.
From the skin, all the way down into the seeds, no part of papaya goes to waste. As a good chef or food lover, knowing what qualities fruits possess and the best ways to make use of them shows how knowledgeable and spontaneous you can be.
Papaya is one fruit that makes its way into the top versatile fruits for consumption. Aside all the packed up health benefits it offers, the bright and perky yellow colour of the papaya gives a dash of attractive freshness to any meal.
What Is papaya?
Papaya also known as pawpaw, is a fruit that comes in different varieties but similar in taste and look. They often come in pear-like shapes and can grow to over 50 centimeters depending on the particular type of papaya it is.
The adaptation of papaya is so unique that it is capable of producing its fruits all year round, making it very affordable and always available.
When unripe, papaya is green in colour, and when it turns ripe, the back becomes yellow or orange, and the inside is usually orange, yellow, or reddish.
One element found in abundance in papaya is papain; it is an enzyme that aids the quick digestion of food especially protein, this makes papaya essential for easing bowel imbalances amongst its other benefits.
The papaya seeds also have some uses of its own. The word ‘papaya’ doesn’t only refer to the fruit but the entire tree that the fruit is gotten from.
Types Of Papaya
There are many types of papaya which are grown in different parts of the world, but there are two very prominent types which are well acknowledged, and they are the Hawaiian and Mexican papaya.
Hawaii papayas are known for their small sizes and tiny clustered seeds, the skin of the Hawaii papaya is orange-yellow in colour when ripe, and it is commonly grown for commercialisation purposes because of the large amounts of fruits they produce at a time.
The Mexican papayas come in much larger sizes than their Hawaii cousins; they are usually yellow and red in colour with the red papaya sweeter in taste than the yellow ones.
Both the red and yellow Mexican papayas are not as sweet as the Hawaii papaya but are easier to grow.
History of papaya
There has been conflicting evidence as to the exact place papaya originated because seeds of papaya were distributed to different parts of the world from regions which early enjoyed thriving papaya growth.
Even with these unsure facts, Central America has been significant seen for thousands of years as the leading cultivators of papaya, and Mexico also had their fair share of papaya cultivation and growth.
Around the early 1600’s, cultivation of papaya began to take shape in Asia and Africa with the help of Spaniards who took the plant with them on movements around the world.
The seeds of papaya were transferred from country to country from that period forward, and they thrived in some climates and withered in others.
Around the 1950’s, Florida became a major cultivator of papaya as they took up it’s planting and harvesting for commercial and non-commercial purposes.
After a few years, their papaya growth suffered a major setback due to natural disturbances and interference is growth processes. There had been similar occurrences of such disturbance in some other parts of the world.
Benefits Of Papaya
Papaya is flooded with many vitamins which give a combination of most of the recommended nutrients daily!
Amongst the compounded nutrients, Vitamin C is in the highest amounts. This Vitamin C which is found in the form of beta-carotene aids proper functioning and natural restoration of sight.
These elements in unison with other vitamins found in papaya prevent eye degeneration due to aging and reduce the risk of total blindness significantly.
Other benefits of papaya aside the improvement of vision includes a reduction in the risk of cancer, aiding metabolic processes, acting as an antioxidant, preventing heart diseases, enhancing the speed of wound healing and prevention of asthma.
The seeds of papaya are also of immense advantage to the body, they have been known to have high detoxification powers and also kidney and liver purification ability, for a video on how you can use the seeds of papaya for food, follow the link
What Does Papaya Taste Like
Depending on the species or kind of papaya you eat the taste could range from very sweet to mildly sweet and can be downright sour or tasteless.
This is caused by various adaptations, growing method, and ripeness of the papaya. Even among papayas of the same species, the flavours could be very much different.
The taste of a healthy and ripe papaya should be fresh, sweet, mildly buttery and luscious.
Simple Papaya Salad
For an easy way to prepare your papaya, you can make it into a salad and this one by A Virtual Vegan.
The combination of papaya and peanuts gives a unique and distinct taste in the mouth. The papaya used in the recipe is green and unripe, for a recipe for a riper papaya salad
Have Some Papaya!
Having seen all the things that come with a single bite of papaya, you need not be told that it is truly a ‘fruit for the angels’ as Christopher Columbus put it.
Aside just slicing it up on a plate and eating it which could get boring with time, there are many other ways you can prepare papaya and still preserve its taste and beautiful colour when serving your family or even guests.
For more recipes on papaya in soups and other delicacies, get this cookbook. Get busy guys, let’s share some papaya love.