Healthy Snacks: Chilled Papaya

Published on October 11, 2022

Papayas are berries with a very interesting profile. They are used for delicious sweet smoothies, salads and desserts like other berries, and also as a medicine. Its papain enzyme is good for the gut and used to treat inflammation. These are links to more fun facts about papayas.

“Believed to be native to Central America, Spanish invaders quickly took to the salmon-orange colored fruit and planted it throughout the Caribbean and South America. By the 17th Century, Dutch and Portuguese colonists had followed suit and brought papaya to Africa and then onto the Far East, where it became an integral part of the cuisines of Southeast Asia.”
link to this very interesting all about papayas article

Papaya is high in dietary fiber and it contain these vitamins and minerals: A, C, B1, B3, B5, B9, E, K, potassium, calcium, and magnesium. “Papayas also contain healthy antioxidants known as carotenoids — particularly one type called lycopene. The vitamin C and lycopene in papaya protect your skin and may help reduce these signs of aging. What’s more, your body absorbs these beneficial antioxidants better from papayas than other fruits and vegetables.” “The papain enzyme in papaya can make protein easier to digest. People in the tropics consider papaya to be a remedy for constipation and other symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). In one study, people who took a papaya-based formula for 40 days had significant improvement in constipation and bloating.”
link to article for more health benefits

Green papayas are cut up and cooked with tough meats to tenderize them.
The Science About Papaya

“After suffering a ruptured disc while filming Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom, actor Harrison Ford received injections of papain to help dissolve the disk and relieve pain caused by the disk pressing on his nerve.”
link to article

The taste of a papaya changes very quickly from underripe and flavorless, to perfect and sweet tasting, to overripe, starting to rot, and unpleasant tasting. You have to practice, just like you how you learned when avocados were ready to eat. Some papayas turn completely yellow while other are ready when a lot of it has turned yellow but it could still be 50% green. They need to be a little soft when you press into them. When you are selection one, inspect them for overly soft spots.

Cut up papaya, like melons, is best served chilled.

Photo of Golden State papaya at Santa Monica Farmers Market in Los Angeles
Photo of Hawaiian papayas at 3rd Street Farmers Market in Los Angeles
Photo of papaya in a Brazilian market by Wendy Schotsmans
Photo of papaya tree in Malasia by Yun Huang Yong
Photo of single papaya on a tree by omnibus