This tropical fruit has it all— sweetness, acidity and a ton of essential nutrients. Read up on the delicious papaya below!
- ...may help prevent cellulite. Papain, a proteolytic enzyme extracted from the raw fruit of papaya is good for strengthening connective tissue and since Papayas also contain a lot of potassium, they are extra good at diminishing cellulite.
- ...helps break down fat. Papain also acts to prevent the storage of fat and can even help to break down some of the fat your body has already stored, as it weakens the stability of fat cells.
- ...is good for eyes and skin. The orange-red color of the papaya is a dead giveaway that papayas contain a high proportion of vitamin A, which is otherwise hardly found in fruit. A high dose of vitamin A is great for healthy, beautiful skin and also supports good eyesight.
- ...boosts the immune system. When it comes to vitamin C, even oranges have nothing on papayas. Just 100 grams of papaya cover more than two thirds of the average daily requirement coming in around 80 milligrams of vitamin C.
- ...is easy to digest. If you have a sensitive stomach and are known to react to fruit with stomach discomfort, papaya is particularly good for you: The fruit flesh contains very little acid and is therefore very easily digestible.
- ...helps your body ingest protein. If you frequently get stomach aches after protein-heavy meals, you should try eating papaya for dessert. Papaya contains large amounts of the enzyme papain, which helps break down protein and makes it easier to digest.
- ...can have side effects. Raw papaya prevents gelatin from solidifying due to papain, and can quickly give dairy products like yogurt an unpleasant bitter taste. However, pouring boiling water over papaya prevents such side effects.
What You Should Know About Papayas
Papaya grows on trees and resembles a cantaloupe with its round to oval shape. Its flesh also resembles that of melons, both in appearance and consistency, and is just as watery and refreshing. Ripe papaya’s flesh becomes butter-soft and can be pale yellow, golden yellow or salmon-red, depending on the variety.
It is believed that papayas originated in South Mexico and Central America but are now present in all tropical and subtropical countries.
Papaya is available all year round.
Papaya have a very juicy, mild and sweet flesh, roughly like a mix of melon and apricot. Unripe papaya have a very tart taste.
There are well over 50 varieties of papaya, some weighing up to 20 lbs. However, most of the ones you can find in the grocery store weigh closer to 1 lb.
Find all our papaya recipes here.
How Healthy Are Papayas?
The papaya is generally considered to be a healthy, slimming fruit and rightly so. It has long been a favorite for health conscious foodies since it contains hardly any calories and fat and delivers a large amount of the enzyme papain. This makes it extremely easy to digest and helps accelerate the burning of fat.
Papayas also have a lot to offer in other respects. The fruit helps balance the immune system and metabolism and helps support against many diseases.
Papain, an enzyme found abundantly in papaya, helps break down protein molecules and is often used as a meat tenderiser. However, the same enzyme also prevents gelatin from solidifying and can cause dairy products like yogurt to take on a bitter taste when mixed.
|Papaya Nutritional Info (100 g)|
Shopping and Cooking Tips for Papayas
Since papaya hardly ripens after harvest, you should buy it when it’s fully ripe. You can tell by its yellow skin and by the fact that it gives slightly when gently pressed.
Ripe papayas stay good in the fridge for a week and three to four days at room temperature. You can also puree the flesh, mix it with some lemon juice and freeze it.
If you want to eat them raw out of the skin, all you have to do is cut it in half and spoon out the black seeds. If you’d prefer to have your papaya diced or sliced, peel the skin off with a peeler, cut it in half and remove the seeds.
What To Make With Papaya
Even if only distantly related - papayas generally go anything a melon would. Cut into narrow slices, ripe papayas with ham or as a carpaccio with mint pesto, for example, make a quick and delicious appetizer.
Diced or cut into decorative balls with a ball cutter, papaya tastes just as good in tropical fruit salads as it does in hearty salads. Take a look at our low-calorie papaya-cucumber salad or spicy steak salad.
The juicy fruit can be used to make healthy and delicious drinks. The colorful cucumber-papaya mix or strawberry-papaya drink are particularly tasty. Because papaya contains hardly any acid, it's especially good with a dash of lime or lemon juice! Of course, this also applies to desserts such as papaya filled with lemon sorbet or the sophisticated Thai fruit skewers from the grill.
Since papaya tastes mild and contains hardly any acid, it is also a healthy treat for babies. Our suggestion for little gourmets: Papaya semolina porridge.
Most people throw out the shiny back peppercorn-sized seeds, but in reality this is a shame. Like the flesh, papaya seeds are packed full of healthy substances such as papain. On top of that, papaya seeds taste pretty good, kind of like pepper. They can even be bought in speciality health stores, but since they are mostly cleaned, dried and packaged by hand they aren’t exactly cheap.
But if you eat papaya often, you can dry the seeds yourself. Thoroughly clean the seeds and spread them out on a baking tray. Let them dry in the oven at 120 degrees fahrenheit for about two to three hours and then pack them in an airtight container.
Since papaya seeds not only look like black pepper but also taste similar, you can use them in many of the same ways. Sprinkle them on sweet and savoury dishes or cook them in soups and stews.