Monday, November 9, 2009

What Is Papaya?

Whenever I have the good fortune to visit the Hawaiian Islands, I take the opportunity to indulge in as many of the local delicacies as possible, be it Maui Onions or locally grown avocados. There are few things I enjoy more than taking my morning walk, enjoying the always perfect weather, and checking out the farmer’s market for produce that I don’t normally eat here on the mainland. Over the next few weeks I will be showcasing many of the diverse fruits and veggies that, while not all native to Hawaii, seem to be abundantly available there. Wonderful and tasty finds like star fruit, pineapple, passion fruit, and today’s topic: Papaya.

Many of you, I’m sure, have eaten papaya, have enjoyed its succulent flavor (like a peach, but different) in smoothies, juices, or diced in a tropical fruit salad. While some of you may have led a more conservative dietary lifestyle and never ventured deeper into the produce aisle to discover this amazing fruit, perhaps others are like me, needing a trip to a tropical paradise to awaken those salivary glands and indulge in diversity. Whatever category you fall under, papaya is not only delicious, but one of the most nutritious fruits in the world.

But how do you eat one?

Though you’d never ask.


Papayas are grown in most tropical climates, but did you also know:


1. picked while still hard and green (like the avocado), they turn a pretty amber when ripe enough to eat
2. the seeds have a peppery taste and are often dried and ground up and used as a seasoning
3. loaded with the enzyme papain: which aids in digestion, can tenderize meats, and even is used to treat cuts and burns
4. the leaves of the papaya tree can be eaten as a spinach-like vegetable and also dried and used to make tea
5. have more vitamin C than apples or oranges
6. Christopher Columbus called papaya the “fruit of the angels”
7. loaded with antioxidants, potassium, folate, papayas are great for the immune system and may help fight cancer and heart disease
8. they have been used for both promoting fertility and preventing it, depending on what culture you consult
9. when eaten while drinking green tea, papaya may also help prevent prostate cancer
10. one of the healthiest low calorie/high fiber foods you can eat

I always feel like kicking myself whenever I get my hands on a papaya and cut one open, not because they are difficult to eat (you know they aren’t, if you watched the video), but because I realize, the second my taste buds scream with pleasure, that it’s been too long since I last had one. But before I did the research for this post, I had no idea how foolish I’d been not to include papaya in my regular diet—they literally are, pound for pound, one of the best things you can eat because they are loaded with enzymes, extensive amounts of antioxidants, vitamins and minerals, and lycopene.


Here are a few ways to include more papaya into your diet:

· juices
· smoothies
· salads
· salsa
served with fish
jams and jellies
· curries
· stews
· or just raw

So, what is papaya?

A tasty, nutritious, versatile, and amazing fruit that you should make an effort to discover and add to your dietary regimen. I know I am going to.

Until next time…




kRiZcPEc said...

seems like I am first this time. Just some off topic observation: you are tanned. :)

Barry said...

I have eaten and enjoyed papaya, prepared for me in restaurants. But its not something I'd ever considered add to my normal diet.

Perhaps its about time I changed my mind.

Susan Blake said...

Bravo - one of my all time favorites! Papaya in the midwest is a bit pricey but like berries, I buy em anyway! When we were in St. Lucia I had the best fruit of my life - especially the bananas they grow there - and sadly ship to ENGLAND not here! The taste was incredible! Ours are bland blahs by comparison!

Your tan is very sexy! :)

Evelyn Lim said...

I don't really enjoy the papaya but I eat it occasionally since it is a tropical fruit and there is an abundant supply here! Somehow my kids don't enjoy the fruit too. I think it has to do with the taste.

Smalltown RN said...

I love Papaya....I don't eat them as frequently as I should primarily due to the fact that they are not a local fruit and when out of season can be very expensive. However, I have had them in smoothies, made salsas with them and topped fish dish with a papaya chutney....yes they are very versatile. What I didn't know was how you could use the seeds....thanks for that tidbit of information, I will remember that next time I pick one up at the market.


Evelyn Parham said...

You make me want to head to the market and get a papaya. Even though, it is not a favored taste, but I know they are packed with awesome I'd better get me one. :)

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the video. I was looking through Green Smoothie Revolution for recipes to try last night and saw Papaya used and wondered how in the world to deal w/ them! Now I see it so easy - gonna have to give this one a try real soon!

redkathy said...

I love papaya but I never knew about the seeds! I made a papaya smoothie just the other night, yummy!

Unknown said...

kriz: i was tanned, but it's already fading...

barry: it's one of those fruits that i don't eat enough of, even though i really enjoy it

suzen: sometimes we just gotta pay to play

evelyn: maybe mash it up in a'll never know the difference...

smalltown rn: and the leaves are edible and used for, huh?

evelyn p.: maybe hold your nose and force one down?

turtleoak: they are very soft and easy to prepare...

redkathy: i'd keep the seeds out of the blender...



heidi said...

I have always loved Papaya but had no idea you could eat the leaves. Great information!

Primary Work at Home said...

I love papaya. Great post!

Cher Duncombe said...

I love papaya too, and just don't know why I don't but it more often. After your video and the great post, I know it's time to get to the produce market and get some!

Justin Johnson said...

Very nice site. I will continue to visit. If you don't mind please let me know what you think of mine. You can comment on the ABOUT ME tab.


Ish said...

papaya is very common here in the philippines,I'm glad you've tried to taste it and find out how delicious papaya is and its benefits to health are limitless, like controlling premature aging.

AED Defibrillator said...

Papaya is really very good for our health and as well as our beautiful face.
AED Defibrillators

Unknown said...

heidi: i've never actually eaten the leave, but look forward to doing so someday

primary...: me too, thanks....

askcherlock: i need to check out the local stuff here, but know if won't taste as fresh as maui

justin: thanks, i will stop by and check out your site...

ish: it is one healthy fruit

aed: anything that will help this beautiful face is worth eating...



Paulineh said...

I love papaya (paw paw) but only eat it when in the tropics as they taste so much better there.

I sprinkle lemon on it and love it that way. Try it for yourself. I just got back from the Cook Islands and had papaya every day.

TC said...

I love papaya. Have not been getting enough of this great fruit but you just reminded me. Even though we take Superfood supplements, the real food(raw food)is still the best.

Jackie said...

Haven't visited in a while I see.

Thank goodness they are plentiful here as they are one of my favourite breakfast fruits and I eat them as they are.

On top of it's great nutrition and healing powers, some might remember papaya alternated with pineapple being the basis of the Beverly Hills Diet years ago. The enzymes in both slimmed millions down nicely.

Kamal said...

Thanks, i was not knowing about the great benefits of papaya.

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