Papaya is a fruit that you either really enjoy, or you’re really conflicted about it. While its creamy, almost buttery consistency and sweetness can appeal to a lot of people, it has a deep musky flavor that also repels others. It’s definitely a unique fruit, but it’s packed with so many vitamins and nutrients that you should consider trying it!
Papaya is a tropical fruit indigenous to South America, ranging from Southern Mexico all the way to the Andes. It was introduced to Hawaii in the 1800s, and to this day it’s the only state in the United States to have papaya grown commercially! At one point it was also grown in Florida, but due to infestation, it’s no longer grown commercially, but many locals attempt to grow it in their backyard. Papaya is a rather fast-growing fruit, usually produced from the seed, and you can expect harvest within the first year of its development.
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When papayas are ready to eat, they become mostly yellow and slightly soft to the touch. You can press your nose to it and smell a musky sweetness that is uniquely papaya. You can actually eat the seeds as well, but they are bitter. Many people all over the world enjoy papaya as a healthy breakfast or snack. It’s so delicious! In the West Indies, people like to take the young leaves of papaya trees and cook them, the same way that you cook dark leafy greens. Papayas are a nutritional powerhouse. They are an excellent source of vitamin C, folate, fiber, vitamin A, and magnesium. There have been studies on papaya and its benefits for digestive health. When it comes to picking papaya, go for organic to ensure you are picking one free from genetically modified organisms. Also, the Kapoho (also called Kapoho Solo) variety is non-GMO. This papaya has yellowish flesh, not pink flesh like most hybrid and commercial GMO papaya crops.
To brighten its deep musky sweet flavor, you can squeeze lime onto the flesh, or even scoop out the pulp of a passionfruit and spread it all over the papaya. There are other creative ways to eat it, too. In this delicious Papaya and Coconut Yogurt Breakfast Bowl, the middle of the papaya is filled with creamy probiotic coconut yogurt and topped with superfoods like pumpkin seeds, goji berries, and chia seeds. It’s quick and a great way to kick off your morning. If you’re on the go and just want to grab a smoothie, this Glow Smoothie has a combination of papaya and dark leafy greens, so it’s boosting with antioxidants and energy. You can find papaya at your local Asian Grocery store, fruit stands, or even online!
Grab a spoon and give papaya a try! For more inspiration, be sure to check our Papaya Archives! Get inspired with many more unique ingredients with our Food Monster App. With over 10,000 recipes right in the palm of your hand, you’ll always have something delicious and new to try. It’s available for both Android and iPhone, and can also be found on Instagram and Facebook. Full of allergy-friendly recipes, subscribers gain access to new recipes every day. Check it out!
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