Also known as:
Papaw, Papita, Pawpaw
Deliciously sweet with musky undertones and a soft, butter-like consistency, it is no wonder the papaya is reputably called the "fruit of the angels". Once considered quite exotic, they can now be found in markets throughout the year. Papayas are spherical or pear-shaped fruits, large, fleshy, hollow berry up to 50-60 cm in diameter and usually weigh from ½ kg to 2 kg. Inside the inner cavity of the fruit are black, round seeds encased in a gelatinous-like substance. Papaya's seeds are edible, although their peppery flavour is somewhat bitter. The fruit has thin smooth skin. It is dark green in colour initially but as it ripens, it changes to bright yellowish or orange. Inside the thick juicy flesh has a soft melting quality and may be yellow or orange, It has a delicate aroma and delicious flavour.
Commonly used in:
Salads, purees, dips etc.
Among other things, papaya is a rich sources of antioxidant nutrients such as carotenes, vitamin C and flavonoids; the B vitamins, folate and pantothenic acid; and the minerals, potassium and magnesium; and fiber. Together, these nutrients promote the health of the cardiovascular system and also provide protection against colon cancer. In addition, papaya contains the digestive enzyme, papain, which is used like bromelain, a similar enzyme found in pineapple, to treat sports injuries, roundworm and allergies. Papaya when consumed regularly corrects habitual constipation and bleeding piles. Juice or Pulp of papaya is regarded highly beneficial for skin disorders, when applied externally. It prevents corns, warts, pimples, removes freckles or brown spots due to sunlight exposure. It acts as a cleanser to skin and adds a glow to the face. Fresh juice taken with honey soothes the irritated throat and helps in tonsils.