When you think of summer, what do you first think about? Isn’t it the fresh air, refreshing smoothie, and sweet summer fruits that make our summer afternoon magical and enjoyable? An essential part of summer is all the juicy ripe and sweet fruits that we sometimes eat with salad, seasoning, etc. One special summer fruit is papaya.
It is an underrated summer fruit that works really well as a substitute for cantaloup. It is fresh, ripe, sweet, soft, and delicate. If you are not familiar with the fruit and want to learn more, a wonderful exploration awaits you. Papayas might not be popular, but they never disappointed a summer lover or fruit lover.
With its taste, delicacy, freshness, nutrients, and versatile recipes, papaya has so much to offer. We have listed all the possible information for a newbie papaya lover to delve into for the first time!
Where Does Papaya Grow
Papaya grows in tropical or subtropical regions. In Asia, you will find them in the Philippines, India, Bangladesh, Malaysia, Srilanka, Thailand, and other south and southeast Asian countries. Humid and hot weather is beneficial for papaya trees and an ideal environment to grow.
In the American region, it grows in Mexico, Texas, Florida, and other hotter regions. It is a juicy, sweet, and soft fruit that is delicious to eat especially during the summer. Papaya trees can grow very tall and very fast. However, they only live for about 10 years.
Every season, you can get about 8-10 papayas from one tree and they grow at once. Papayas are usually similar to watermelons but a bit smaller in size.
Papaya is full of nutrients like any other tropical fruit. It provides vitamin C, vitamin B, and antioxidants. One study shows that it provides high vitamin A and carotenoids that prevent age-related macular degeneration. It also provided folate, potassium, magnesium, and fiber that help with digestion, stomach ache, inflammation, etc.
It also improves the immune system, the cardiovascular health, and heals wounds. In many countries, papaya paste is used as an antiseptic to heal. If you want to drink a detox drink and boost your metabolism, papaya is the main ingredient.
It is proven to be a good detoxifier and improves the digestive system. In fact, it is one of those plants that have benefited from roots to flowers to seeds. It is also helpful for colon, lunch, and prostate cancer.
How to Eat Papaya
Eating papaya is very easy. At least is easier than eating avocados, oranges, etc. You need to peel off the skin first. Make sure there is no green skin left, otherwise it will taste bitter. Once the skin is off, you will see the orange part inside like a watermelon.
You can cut it into square pieces or like pickled cucumbers. Then you will see some black seeds covering the core of the papaya. But the good news is they aren’t scattered as a melon. Make sure to take a spoon and scoop out those black seeds. You aren’t supposed to eat those, at least raw. They taste a bit spicy and bitter too. You can also eat it raw or add some recipes. We will add some recipe ideas in this article as well.
Why Does Papaya Smell Odd?
Oftentimes people will say that they get a weird smell while eating papaya. Some people even say papaya smell like vomit. As funny as it sounds, it is true to an extent. It is because papaya has a specific enzyme called papain. This enzyme helps break down tough proteins as well. That’s why eating papaya is helpful for better digestion.
It is also similar to the enzymes inside our stomach. Because of that, we get reminded of vomit when we smell that. The smell is often pungent and strong. But some people don't notice the smell at all. Therefore, don’t get discouraged to try it.
You might not even notice the smell and get to enjoy the refreshing summer fruit. Still worried about the smell? Get a bottle of papaya puree here to have a taste of organic papaya without having to deal with the fruit.
What Does Papaya Taste Like
Although it is called a berry in science, it doesn’t taste or smell like one at all. The texture and taste both depend on how ripe the fruit is. As it is eaten when it is very ripe, let’s talk about that first. When the papaya is ripe, the texture is very soft and creamy.
You can compare the texture to that of a cantaloup or mango. It tastes sweet like a cantaloupe too. A well-ripped papaya will give you the perfect balance of sweetness that doesn’t linger at the back of your mouth and melts in your mouth.
The musky flavor and smell are very subtle but you will feel it once you are chewing the piece of papaya. It also gives you a refreshing feeling and the juicy flavor quenches your thirst. Papay is an excellent fruit to add to your salad or any fruit items.
When the papaya is not ripe enough, it will be hardened like a raw cucumber. It also doesn’t have sweetness or smoothness in it. Unripe papaya tastes very bland and bad. However, some Asian cuisines cook raw unripe papayas as curry and that has a very different taste. They add chili, salt, and gravy to it to eat with rice.
How to Tell If It's Ripe
You need to eat ripe papaya if you want to get the best taste of it. For that, there are three ways to check if it is ripe enough. The first one is the smell.
As pungent as you think it is, when the papaya is ripe it spreads a ripe sweet smell. The riper it is the stronger the scent is. When you sniff it, you will be able to tell. If you can’t smell the papaya from the outside it is either not ripe enough or it would not taste as sweet as it should.
The second way is the color of the fruit. As papaya ripens, it turns from green to yellow and sometimes orange. If you see a yellow papaya with a bit of green here and there, it is likely that the papaya is good.
Orange papaya might be too ripe that it would get expired or grow mold ina day or two. You can also check the fruit by pressing it lightly. A ripe papaya will be softer and more delicate. It is harder when it is not ripe. Slightly press the body of the fruit to check.
Papaya is a great addition to your salad items, fruit cocktail, and other summer recipes. On top of that, it is full of nutrients and versatile fruit. If you live in a place with tropical weather, we would recommend you plant papaya seeds so that you can take advantage of their versatility of it.
You can also watch this video to learn how to plant papaya seeds-
It is a very delicious and refreshing fruit that is completely vegan too. You will find them mostly in Asian markets or global markets. If you are a mango and cantaloup lover, try it out and it might be your next favorite fruit.