What is a Papaya?
The Papaya tree bears many spherical or large pear-shaped fruits clumped near the top of the tree. The fruit an edible papaya comes in a variety of sizes ranging from as small as 6 inches in length to well over a foot and 4-12 inches in diameter. An average-sized papaya weighs about a pound.
The fruit itself when cut open is hollow in the center similar to a melon. The center is filled with black pepper corn looking seeds. The flesh is most often yellow or orange in color but can have varying colors among different varieties. The flesh is soft in consistency and has a sweet, distinct flavor that some would identify as musky. The flavor as well can vary slightly depending on variety.
Location, Season & Varieties:
The majority of papaya are grown in Hawaii, Brazil and Mexico with a year around supply available. The most common varieties or types grown are the Hawaaiian, Blue Hawaaiian, Sunrise, Kapoho and Wainanalo.
Nutrition & Benefits:
The papaya has long been know to be one the worlds healthiest foods. It has been reported to help with:
- preventing cancer
- improving digestion
- good for vision
- boosts immunity
- lowering cholesterol
It is high in vitamin A and C, folate and fiber. As always here is a great nutritional calculator tool. Papaya Calculator
How to buy & store:
When buying look for healthy looking fruit with solid skins without and cuts or bruises. The fruit is ripe when it yields to gentle pressure. You can identify them by the PLU stickers that are normally placed on them at the farm. Here is what the most common ones mean:
4052 – small size
4394 – large size
3111 – red flesh
3112 – meridol
Normal shelf life for the papaya is 3-5 days. The should be kept at room temperature for ripening and once ripe can be kept in the refrigerator.
How to Eat:
The papaya is a very simple fruit to eat and is eaten fresh in slices or cubes. You can see our video here to get a glimpse into what they look like and how to eat them.