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Articles - Gourmet Pleasures:

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Enjoy a taste of the exotic

Papaya (or some people say "paw-paw") tastes like melon and has a scent like apricots. Ripe papaya has a golden yellow skin and richly pink flesh. It's delicious spooned out with just a squeeze of lemon or lime juice, but it also mixes well with kiwi or mangos in a fruit salad. A grating of ginger will enhance the flavour. Unripe papayas with green skins are edible, they taste slightly sour and can be used in soups and chutneys.

 

Healthy fruit

Papayas are low in calories and rich in carotinoids (165 micrograms/100 g), dietary fibre (1.7 g/100 g, especially pectin) and vitamin C (80 mg/100 g). Depending on how ripe the fruit is, sugar content will be between 6 and 19 g/100 g. Papayas also contain papain and chymopapain, enzymes that break down tough protein fibres to help digestion or can be used to tenderise meat.

 

To eat a papaya, cut it in half, scrape out the black seeds with a spoon and discard. Then simply spoon the flesh out with a spoon. If you're planning on making a fruit salad then peel the papaya thinly with a sharp knife and then cut the flesh into cubes. Be careful, papaya is very slippery.

More abour papayas

Papayas originated in the tropics between Bolivia and southern Mexico, but today most papayas are grown in India and Brazil. They grow in clusters on tall trees hat look rather like palm trees. Their shape varies from pear-shaped to oval depending on the type. Each papaya has 1,000 black seeds. Most people aren't aware that the seeds are edible. They contain mustard oil glycosides, giving them a peppery flavour. They can be washed, dried, ground up and used as a spice.

Buying and storing

Papayas are available to buy year round. Choose ripe, golden fruit that give a little when pressed. They'll keep for about a week in the fridge.

 

Source: Heike Kreutz, www.aid.de