Taiwan has been growing papayas for over centuries as it was first brought to Taiwan for cultivation during the late Qing Dynasty. It has become one of the most important fruits in the business. Back in the 1980s, there was vial disease that almost wiped the fruit off the surface of Asia. We are only able to still enjoy papayas today because Taiwanese researchers worked days and nights during the crisis and we finally bred a disease-resistance variety of new papayas and saved the industry.
Taste and Texture
Papaya has a wonderfully soft, butter-like consistency and a deliciously sweet, musky taste. 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 flavor is somewhat bitter.
Select papayas that are firm with some yellow streaks and free of blemishes.Health
Benefits of Papaya
Fat free, cholesterol free, sodium free, good source of potassium and folate, excellent source of Vitamin A and C.
Papayas offer not only the luscious taste and sunlit color of the tropics, but are 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, other causes of trauma, and allergies.
Papaya & Basil Salad
Healthy Girl's Kitchen
(Serves 4-6 as a side dis)
1 really ripe papaya, seeds and skin removed and cut into 1 1/2" chunks
1 or 2 large carrots, peeled and sliced
1/4 cup (a handful) fresh basil, sliced
1/2 cup rice wine vinegar
1/4 cup sugar (I used organic sucanat, which is dried cane juice and is much less processed than white sugar)
- Combine vinegar, sugar and salt in a small sauce pan and bring to a simmer. Stir and remove from heat when sugar is dissolved. Let cool.
- In a bowl, put papaya chunks, carrots and basil. Toss with vinegar marinade. Allow to marinate for 10 to 20 minutes and then strain off excess liquid before serving. Serve immediately.
- If you would like to prep the marinade and the papaya, carrot, basil mixture ahead of time and keep them separate in the refrigerator, then toss right before serving, that would work well.