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You may know papaya for its supporting role in countless fruit punch recipes, and just about anything tropical. But have you welcomed fresh papaya into your fruit repertoire? If not, don’t wait any longer!
Papaya is loved for its tropical flavor and seemingly endless health benefits. Fresh papaya’s texture is much like ripe cantaloupe, with a flavor that brings to mind mango, peach and a hint of banana. Keep reading to learn all about the incredible papaya!
Shaped like something between a pear and a football (and about the size of one), papaya is a tropical fruit known best for its juicy, deep orange flesh that’s loaded with shiny, dark seeds in the center.
The star of the papaya show is absolutely it’s uniquely orange flesh that’s enjoyed raw or cooked into countless sweet and savory dishes. The black seeds have a bitter flavor and a heat that allows them to be used kinda like peppercorns. Papaya peel is waxy and fibrous, and therefore discarded as inedible.
Outside, papayas have smooth skin that changes from bright green to yellowish orange as it ripens. Inside, the blushy orange fruit has a peachy-sweet flavor that’s subtly floral. Papaya fruits are considered berries, and can range in size from about 6-18 inches long.
Knowing how to tell when a papaya is ripe is easy. First, their skin will be a golden yellow color. Little to no green should remain on the skin once ripe. The fruit should feel heavy in your hand, and yield to gentle pressure from your thumb, similar to an avocado.
Papaya is an incredibly healthy and satisfying snack. The generous fiber content of papaya helps you feel full. Plus, papayas contain an enzyme called papain that’s known to support digestive health because it helps break down proteins. Its vitamin C content boosts your immunity and helps to prevent arthritis, while vitamin A is great for eye health. Papayas are also linked to cancer prevention due to its high antioxidant content.
For all its deliciousness, papaya is also known to have side effects that fruit fans should be aware of. For instance, unripened papaya contains higher concentrations of latex which can cause some gnarly internal discomfort. Therefore, papaya should be fully ripe or cooked properly before eating it. Some medications could be effected, so talk with your doc before diving in to too much fresh papaya.
When you cut into your papaya you may notice a pungent, possibly off-putting smell caused by an enzyme called papain. While being amazing for your digestive health and making papaya a wonderful addition to meat marinades for its tenderizing properties, it can stink a bit. If this happens, simply squeeze lime juice all over the fruit. Not only will the smell go away, but lime and papaya flavors complement each other perfectly.
Most of the papaya consumed in the US comes from Hawaii, Mexico, and Central America.
The peak papaya season is from early summer to fall. Follow us on Instagram to be the first to know when FruitStand is shipping papaya harvests directly to you from our specialty farms partners!
Whether a papaya is certified organic or not will depend on the farm where it was grown. At FruitStand, we only partner with the best specialty farms for exceptional quality of produce. When each harvest is available, we'll tell you whether the fruit is considered organic or conventional.
At FruitStand, we look forward to sending you a beautiful package of these extraordinary fruits from our small specialty farms partners. Send us your papaya questions any time on Instagram @Fruitstandcom!