Two Types of Piquant Papayas
There are two types of papaya fruit, Hawaiian and Mexican. The Hawaiian varieties are the papayas commonly found in supermarkets. The flesh is bright orange or pinkish, depending on variety, with small black seeds clustered in the center.
Mexican papayas are much larger then the Hawaiian types. The flesh may be yellow, orange or pink. The flavor is less intense than that the Hawaiian papaya but still is delicious. A properly ripened papaya is juicy, sweetish and somewhat like a cantaloupe in taste. The edible seeds have a spicy flavor somewhat reminiscent of black pepper.
There are many varieties of papayas, all of which are different colors. Look for fruit with smooth unblemished skin, avoid those with soft spots or bruises. Papayas are ripe when they emit a soft, fruit aroma and are generally 3/4 yellow/orange in color, again depending on variety.
Wash papayas carefully in cool water before using. Papayas should be peeled and seeded before eating. Green papaya can be used in salsa and added to stews or soups like a vegetable. Papaya seeds are peppery and can be pulverized for salad dressing and marinade. Peel, seed and blend a papaya with milk, yogurt or orange juice for a breakfast meal or rum for exotic tropical drinks.
Store unripe papayas at room temperature away from sunlight. To ripen a papaya quickly, place it in a brown bag with an apple. Another way is to score the outer skin into quarters and place with narrow end up in a glass container. Leave for one or two days. To store a ripe papaya, keep it in the crisper bin of your refrigerator, away from other fruits and vegetables for a day or two.
Papaya contains the digestive enzyme papain, which helps your body break down and digest proteins. It is also used to tenderize meat.
- Papayas are fat-free
- Papayas are saturated fat-free
- Papayas are very low in sodium
- Papayas are cholesterol-free
- Papayas are a good source of fiber
- Papayas are high in vitamin C
- Papayas are a good source of folate
Types of Papaya Fruit
- Kamiya. A selection from Waimanalo. Small to medium-sized fruit. Distinct, blocky shape, very short neck. Deep yellow-orange skin and flesh, firm, juicy, very sweet. Dwarf, high-yielding plant. Fairly recent release from the University of Hawaii.
- Mexican Red. A rose-fleshed papaya that is lighter in flavor than Mexican Yellow. Medium to very large fruit. Generally not as sweet as Hawaiian types.
- Mexican Yellow. A very sweet and flavorful, yellow-fleshed papaya. Medium to large fruit, can grow up to 10 pounds. Generally not as sweet as Hawaiian types.
- Solo. Fruit round and shallowly furrowed in female plants, pear-shaped in bisexual plants. Skin smooth, flesh firm, reddish-orange, very sweet, of excellent quality. Produces no male plants, only bisexual and female in a 2 to 1 ratio. Introduced into Hawaii from Barbados in 1911. Named Solo in 1919.
- Sunrise (Sunrise Solo). Pear-shaped fruit with a slight neck. Skin smooth, flesh firm, reddish-orange, sweet, sugar content high. Seed cavity not as deeply indented as other Solo strains, making seed removal easier.
- Sunset (Sunset Solo). Small to medium-sized, pear-shaped fruit. Orange-red skin and flesh. Very sweet. Dwarf, high yielding plant. Originated at the University of Hawaii.
- Vista Solo. Medium to large fruit depending on climate, 5 inches wide, up to 18 inches long. Skin yellow, flesh orange to yellow-orange. Hardy, compact Solo type producing high quality fruit. Needs fairly hot weather to develop sweetness. Self-fertile.
- Waimanalo. Fruit round with a short neck, average weight 16 to 39 ounces. Skin smooth, and glossy, cavity star-shaped. Flesh thick, firm, orange-yellow in color, flavor and quality high, keeps well. Recommended for fresh market and processing.
Papaya (Carica papaya) has long been enjoyed as a delicious food, but now it is also recognized as a safe and natural digestive aid. For thousands of years, natives in South America have used papaya because of its ability to break down tough meat fibers. This is due to an enzyme called papain. Papain is used today in commercially available powdered meat tenderizers.
Papaya enzyme is a powerful combination for aiding digestive problems and getting more nutrients from the foods you eat every day. And it's very inexpensive. As a dietary supplement, adults chew one (1) tablet with meals, or as directed by a health care professional. Store in a cool, dry place and away from direct light.
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