Papaya is an exotic fruit cultivated in almost all tropical regions. The fruit is quite dense and is usually a round or pear-shaped. The flesh is yellow-orange coloured and is sweet. Papaya has also lots of health benefits.
Where Does It Come From?Originally from southern Mexico (particularly Chiapas and Veracruz), Central America, andnorthern South America, the papaya is now cultivated in most tropical countries.It grows rapidly, producing fruits within three years. It is, however, highly frost-sensitive, limitingits production to tropical lands.The papaya grows all year long.The papaya is a large, tree-like plant, with a single stem growing from 5 to 10 m tall, with spirallyarranged leaves confined to the top of the trunk. The lower trunk is conspicuously scarred whereleaves and fruit are born.
What Does It Look Like?• The leaves are large, 50–70 cm in diameter, deeply palmately lobed, with seven lobes. Theflowers are similar in shape to the flowers of the Plumeria, but are much smaller and wax-like.• Two kinds of papayas are commonly grown. One has sweet, red (or orangish) flesh, and theother has yellow flesh; in Australia, these are called "red papaya" and "yellow papaw",respectively. Either kind, picked green, is called a "green papaya.The fruit is sometimes round in shape, or maybe more pear-shaped depending upon thevariety and growing conditions. As available instores, the papaya is generally not quite as long.Most have an average length of 7 inches (17.78cm). The fruit is remarkably dense and mayweigh up to a pound. The interior of the fruit isdeep orange, the taste sweet, and the texturesoft. Black seeds mark the middle of the fruit
How To Use It?• The ripe fruit of the papaya is usually eaten raw, without skin orseeds. It is also eaten as a dried fruit.• The unripe green fruit can be eaten cooked, usually in curries,salads, and stews. Sometimes it is used to make jam.• Both green papaya fruit and the trees latexare rich in papain, a protease used fortenderising meat and other proteins. It is nowincluded as a component in powdered meattenderisers• It is also a cooking aid and in traditionalmedicine. Papaya is marketed in tablet form toremedy digestive problem.
What Are Papaya’s Benefits?• Papaya fruit is a rich source of nutrients such as provitamin A carotenoids, vitaminC, B vitamins, lycopene, dietary minerals and dietary fibre.• Papaya skin, pulp and seeds also contain a variety of phytochemicals, includingnatural phenols. Danielone is a phytoalexin found in the papaya fruit.