The Papaya is the fruit of the plant Carica papaya, the sole species in the genus Carica of the plant family Caricaceae. It is a short-lived, fast-growing, woody, large herb that grows to about 10 or 12 feet in height. Originally from southern Mexico, Central America, and northern South America, the papaya is now cultivated in most tropical countries.
Also called Papaw or Paw Paw, Mamao, and Tree Melon, Papaya were once considered quite exotic, but can now be more easily found in markets throughout the year. If you have a Papaya tree in your yard, as many people in St. Maarten do, you'll notice that Papaya trees produce fruit year round.
Papayas are ready to harvest when most of the skin is yellow-green. After several days of ripening at room temperature, a properly ripened papaya is juicy, sweetish and somewhat like a cantaloupe in flavor, they will be almost fully yellow and slightly soft to the touch. Deliciously sweet with musky undertones and a soft, butter-like consistency.
The seeds are edible and have a taste reminiscent of black pepper.
Dark green fruit will not ripen properly off the tree, even though it may turn yellow on the outside. Mature fruit can be stored at 45° F for about 3 weeks.
The Wonders of Papaya
The Papaya was reputably called the
"Fruit of the Angels" by Christopher Columbus.
The flesh of the Papaya fruit ranges in color from Yellow, to Orange to Pink, with the small black seeds clustered in the center cavity.
There are two types of papayas,
Hawaiian and Mexican.
The fruit and leaves contain papain which helps digestion and is used to tenderize meat. They also contain latex, so anyone with a latex allergy should avoid Papaya, as well as Banana, Kiwi and Avacado.
PAPAYA SALAD RECIPE