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Friday, May 5, 2017

Papaya / Paw Paw - 'Carica papaya' - fam: Caricaceae

The Papaya, Papaw, or Pawpaw, is the plant, Carica papaya, one of the 22 accepted species in the genus Carica, of the family Caricaceae.

It is native to the tropics of the Americas, perhaps from southern Mexico and neighboring Central America. It was first cultivated in Mexico several centuries before the emergence of the Mesoamerican classical civilizations. The papaya is a small, sparsely branched tree, usually with a single stem growing from 5 to 10 mtrs (16 to 33 ft) tall, with spirally arranged leaves confined to the top of the trunk 1.

Mother Nature’s treasure chest. Very high in nutrients. The skin and flesh of unripe papaya can be used to tenderise cheaper cuts of meat. The smooth skin is inedible. Young leaves are cooked and eaten like spinach. The shape varies depending on variety, but they are mostly round, pear-shaped or oval. They measure, from 10cms to 50cms, and can weigh between 200gms to more than 3kgs.

Green when unripe, the papaya turns deep yellow, or orange, when ripe. Fruit has yellow, or orange flesh, depending on variety, which is firm in texture. There is an abundance of edible black seeds. It has a soft, juicy, and sweet tasting flesh. To eat fresh, simply cut the fruit in half lengthwise and scoop out the seeds. It can be added to fruit salads, made into ice cream, and sorbets. It also goes well with cured meats, and savoury dishes, like curries. Green unripe papaya can be used as a vegetable, cooked similarly to zucchini. Grated green papaya is great in salads. Can also be juiced 2.

Often called, the 'food of the angels' 3.

REFERENCES: Wikipedia 1 Australian Tropical Fruit 2 3


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