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The exact origination of papaya is unknown but it is believed to be native to southern Mexico and neighboring Central America. The papaya is a melon like fruit with yellow-orange flesh enclosed in a thin skin that varies in color from green to orange to rose. Papayas are a good source of vitamin A and C.
Today papaya can be found all year long with the peak season being early
summer and fall. Most of the papayas imported come from Hawaii, but smaller quantities from Florida, California, Mexico, Puerto Rico, and Central and South American countries are becoming more available

The papaya enzyme called papain, is used as a meat tenderizer. It breaks down tough meat fibers. Its use is nothing new. South American cooks have been using papaya to tenderize meat for ages.
It is sold as a component in powdered meat tenderizer available in most supermarkets.

Selection

Look for papayas that are partly or completely yellow in color, depending on variety, that give slightly to pressure, but are not soft at the stem-end. Avoid papayas that are bruised, shriveled, or have soft areas. Papayas that are hard and green are immature and will not ripen properly. Uncut papayas have no smell. Papayas that are cut should smell sweet, not bad or fermented.


Papaya

Serving size cup, cubed (70g)
Amounts Per Serving % Daily Value
Calories 25  
Calories from Fat 0  
Total Fat 0g 0%
Saturated Fat 0g 0%
Cholesterol 0mg 0%
Sodium 0mg 0%
Total Carbohydrate 7g 2%
Dietary Fiber 1g 4%
Sugars 4g 
Protein 0g 
Vitamin A 15%
Vitamin C 70%
Calcium 2%
Iron 0%

* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet.
Storage

Slightly green papayas will ripen quickly at room temperature, especially if placed in a paper bag. As the papaya ripens, it will turn from green to yellow. Place ripe papayas in a plastic bag and store in the refrigerator. Papayas will keep for up to a week, but it's best to use them within a day or two.

Varieties

There are two types of papayas, the Hawaiian and Mexican. The Hawaiian varieties also known as Solo papayas, are found most often in supermarkets. These fruits are pear shaped, weigh about a pound each, and have yellow skin when ripe. The flesh is bright orange or pinkish, depending on the variety.
The Mexican varieties are not as common but can be found in Latino supermarkets. Mexican papayas are much larger then the Hawaiian types and can weigh up to 20 pounds and be more than 15 inches long. Although the flavor is less intense than the Hawaiian varieties, they are still delicious and enjoyable.

Recipes

Papaya Boats
Serves 4

Each serving equals 1 1/4 cups of fruit or vegetables


Ingredients

2 Papayas, ripe
1 cup (11 oz) Mandarin oranges, drained
1 Banana, (small and ripe), sliced
1 Kiwi, peeled and sliced
1 cup Combination blueberries and strawberries
1 cup Vanilla yogurt
2 Tbsp Honey
2 tsp Chopped fresh mint

Cut papayas in half lengthwise; scoop out seeds. Place oranges, banana, kiwi and berries in each papaya half. Combine yogurt, honey and mint; mix well and spoon over fruit before serving. Garnish with mint sprigs, if desired.

Nutrition information per serving: Calories 241, Fat 1g, Calories from Fat 5%, Cholesterol 3mg, Fiber 6g, Sodium 44mg.

Papaya
Benefit of Papaya

Papaya enzymes act like a super enzyme. They not only break down proteins, carbohydrates, and starches, they also help digest fats, speed up metabolism and act as a weight-loss supplement. Papayas are rich in fiber. Fiber helps a person feel full and prevents constipation. Fiber rich foods are a must on any weight-loss diet or maintenance program.

Ripe papayas contain nearly a three-day supply of vitamin C and a significant amount of vitamins E and A (the latter generally comes in the form of beta-carotene, which contributes to the oblong fruit's bright color).