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Wednesday, June 26, 2013

June, National Papaya Month

The papaya (also known as papaw or pawpaw) is the fruit of the plant Carica papaya.  The papaya is a melon like fruit with yellow-orange flesh. The skin varies in color from green to orange to rose. Papayas are a good source of vitamin A, vitamin C, and dietary fiber.


The ripe fruit of the papaya is usually eaten raw, with or without skin or seeds. The unripe green papaya can be eaten cooked.  

Green papaya is used in Southeast Asian cooking to make curries, salads, and stews. The black seeds of the papaya are edible and have a spicy taste. They are sometimes ground and used as a substitute for black pepper. In parts of Asia, the young leaves of the papaya are steamed and eaten like spinach.

Green papaya fruit is rich in papain, a protease used as a meat tenderizer. Papain is also applied topically to treat cuts, rashes, stings and burns. Papain ointment is commonly made from fermented papaya flesh, and is applied as a gel-like paste.

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.

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.


Recipe
Papaya Salad with Tomatoes, Onions,
Peppers, Brown Rice, Black Beans







In the Disney film, The Jungle Book (1967), 
Baloo sings the song "The Bare Necessities."
Can you locate the papaya in the song?

Resources
Fruits and Veggies, More Matters. Papaya
Wikipedia, Carica papaya
Analysis prepared using ESHA, Food Processor


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