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How to cook with papaya

Papaya is juicy and sweet with a taste reminiscent of melon with a hint of honey. There are many uses for this exotic fruit. Some people love it pure or with a squeeze of lemon juice. Papaya is delicious in a fruit salad, for example combined with kiwi, mango and a lime marinade. A squeeze of lemon juice and a little ginger emphasize the fruity flavour. Papaya is brilliant in cakes or in parfaits and makes delicious jam. Try it pureed as juice or in a milkshake. But papaya is also a perfect match for chicken, fish and seafood. The fruit contains an enzyme, papain , which makes meat tender and easy to digest. Make a delicious starter by rolling slices of papaya in ham.

Where does papaya come from?

Papaya, sometimes written pawpaw, came originally from Mexico. Today it’s grown all over Central and South America , in Africa, Australia and India. The fruit grows on trees reminiscent of palm trees, that can be up to ten metres high. Depending on the type of tree, the fruit can be egg-shaped or pear-shaped and its skin will range from yellow-green to golden. Even unripe papayas where the skin is still green can be eaten. They have a sharp taste and can be used like pumpkin in soups, stews and chutneys. Their round black seeds can be washed, ground up in a pestle and mortar and used to add a pleasant peppery taste to food.

Buying and quality

Papayas are in the shops throughout the year. Ripe fruit will have yellow skins and be slightly soft to the touch. That’s what you should be looking for, because then you’ll get sweet, flavoursome fruit. If you’re serving papayas on their own, cut the fruit in half lengthways, scoop out the seeds and eat with a spoon. Or you can peel the fruit thinly and cut the flesh into small cubes. Unopened ripe papayas will keep for about a week in the fridge.


Source: Heike Kreutz, www.aid.de