papayaPAPAYA / PAW PAW Carica papaya

Intro: Mother Nature’s treasure chest. Very high in nutrients. The skin and flesh of unripe papaya can be used to tenderise cheaper cuts of meat. The smooth skin is inedible. Young leaves are cooked and eaten like spinach.

History: Originates from Central America.

Shape: Varies depending on variety, but mostly round, pear-shaped or oval.

Weight/size: Measure, from 10cm to 50cm and can weigh between 200g to more than 3kg.

Colour: Green when unripe and turns deep yellow or orange when ripe. Fruit has yellow or orange flesh, depending on variety, which is firm in texture. There is an abundance of edible black seeds.

Taste: Soft, juicy, and sweet tasting.

Buying/storage: Papayas bruise easily, so do not buy if the skin is damaged. Unripe fruit should be left at room
temperature to ripen. Ripe fruit can be kept in refrigerator for five to seven days.

Preparing/serving: To eat, fresh simply cut the fruit in half lengthwise and scoop out the seed. Can be added to fruit salads, made into ice cream and sorbets. It also goes well with cured meats and savoury dishes, like curries. Green unripe papaya can be used as a vegetable, cooked similarly to zucchini. Grated green papaya is great in salads. Can also be juiced.

Variety: Hawaiian solo, PNG Red, Yellow – 11B, 1B and other selections.