It’s Papaya Month, so let’s get acquainted with this exotic fruit. Papaya is grown on a tree or shrub in Central America and other tropical areas in the world. The papaya is harvested when it is predominately green and shipped to America year-round.
When purchasing at the grocery store, look for yellow-streaked, firm papayas. Store papayas on the counter at room temperature for 2 to 3 days until they have fully ripened. A fully mature papaya will appear entirely yellow or orange on the outside. Once ripe, eat papayas as soon as possible or place in the refrigerator to stop the ripening process.
A few prep steps are required before eating this delicious fruit, which is rich in Vitamin C, folate, and a variety of phytochemicals. Always begin by cutting the papaya in half. Next, scrape out seeds with a spoon. Most people tend to eat the fruit without the seeds, but don’t be afraid! The seeds are edible and add a sharp, spicy taste to salads or as a replacement to black pepper. Depending on the directions of the recipe, a papaya can be eaten directly out of the rind or peeled for dicing or slicing into wedges. Papaya is a great addition to curries, salads or simply on its own. Enjoy!