It is mango's younger sister and the cousin of avocado. Can you believe we are talking about papaya? That's right. This juicy tropical fruit is full of surprises. There are many reasons to fall in love with papaya. Let's take a look.
All about papaya
Papayas grow on small height trees native to Central America (in Mexico it was called chichihualtzapotl, sweet fruit of 'nannies,' because it was linked to fertility). Nowadays, papaya is found throughout the tropics, from the Caribbean to the Philippines, where it is especially popular. The fruits are oblong, ranging in colour from green to yellow to orange to pink, and though they can weigh up to 19lbs (9kg), you'll commonly find much smaller papayas at the market weighing anywhere from 1 to 2lbs. (500-600g).
How to cut papaya
For starters, papaya must be peeled and cut in half. The gorgeous black seeds should be scooped out with a spoon. At this point, ripe papaya may be sliced or chopped and consumed as is. Unripe papaya is often thinly sliced and tossed into salad or sprinkled with lime juice, salt or spices, depending on where you are.
What does papaya taste like?
A ripe papaya is full of sweet, tasty juice while the flesh has a creamy texture. Its consistency is softer than that of melon and is a kind of mix between a cantaloupe and mango or even pumpkin.
How to eat papaya: recipes
You can always toss papaya into a fruit salad but if that's too simple for you try freezing chunks and using them to whip up drinks like this peach and papaya smoothie.
Papaya, like pineapple, is also nice for baking. It makes a great filling for pies, tarts or cakes. It's good to note that the fruit's natural sweetness will help you cut down on the amount of sugar required for the recipe.
A wonderful way to enjoy papaya is to consume it in a salad. In Thailand, green papaya salad is very popular: the unripe fruit is thinly sliced and tossed with peanuts, chillies, lime, tomatoes and fish sauce.
Another fun idea would be to make a spicy papaya sauce, which can easily be prepared by pureeing papaya and a small number of chilli peppers in a blender and then pouring over fish, chicken or meat.
This article was updated on 22/03/2023.