WHAT IS PAPAYA?
Papaya is a delicious and nutritious tropical fruit that is packed with vitamins and minerals. They are grown in tropical climates around the world, including Far North Queensland, the Northern Territory and Western Australia.
Papaya is a popular ingredient in many different cuisines, from Mexican and South American to Vietnamese, Thai, and Indian. It can be eaten raw or cooked and added to a variety of dishes including salads and chutneys, stir-fries and desserts. Ripe papaya can even be blended and used as a marinade to tenderise chewier cuts of meat.
IS PAPAYA THE SAME AS PAWPAW?
If you’re confused about papaya and pawpaw (also spelt papaw) you are definitely not alone. While some pages on the internet will tell you the words are interchangeable for the same fruit. That’s not quite right.
Papaya is oval shaped with distinct red flesh, green/yellow skin and a sweet flavour. Papaw is rounder, with yellow/orange flesh, yellow skin and is slightly less sweet.
A ripe papaya will have yellow-orange or reddish-orange skin and be uniform in colour. It should yield slightly when gently pressed with your finger. If you’re buying half a papaya and can see the flesh, a ripe papaya will have bright orange/red flesh.
If the papaya has dark spots or patches it’s overripe. Green papaya is considered under ripe, but it’s often used in Asian-style salads.
While you’ll see papaya on supermarket and greengrocer shelves year-round, they’re at their best in Autumn and Spring.
STORING & RIPENING
Fruit that is partially yellow should be left at room temperature and will ripen in a few days. When properly stored papayas will become fully ripe within two to five days.
Leave to ripen at room temperature to allow flavour to develop. If you need to speed up the process, place papaya in a paper bag with a banana. Once ripe, you can store in the fridge. Best consumed within one to two days.
WHY YOU SHOULD EAT PAPAYA
Just one 150g serve of papaya will deliver:
– DOUBLE your daily vitamin C needs.
– a THIRD of your daily vitamin A needs.
– a QUARTER of your daily folate needs.
The goodness doesn’t stop there. Papaya contains both soluble and insoluble fibres – which are both essential for a healthy and happy gut and can keep you feeling fuller for longer.
Their rich-orange hue is thanks to carotenoids, an antioxidant that is believed to have cancer-fighting properties. Carotenoids can also help with skin elasticity, as well as forming and repairing skin cells.
Papayas also have a high water content. Great for hydration as the weather warms and for keeping your skin glowing.
COOKING WITH PAPAYA
From refreshing salads and smoothies to stir fries and desserts, papaya is one versatile fruit.
Some of our favourite recipes include:-