Exotic and underrated, Papayas offer not only the luscious taste and sunlit color of the tropics, but are rich sources of antioxidant nutrients such as carotenes, vitamin C, flavanoids, the B vitamins folate and panthtothenic acid, potassium, copper, magnesium and fiber. Together these nutrients promote the health and cardiovascular system and also provide protection against colon cancer.
In addition, papaya contains the digestive enzyme, papain, which is used like bromelain, a similar enzyme found in pineapple to treat sport injuries, other causes of trauma and allergies.
Papayas are spherical or pear-shaped fruits that can be as long as 20”. Their flesh is a rich orange color with either yellow or pink hues. The inner cavity of the fruit is a deep orange with black round seeds that resemble peppercorns. The flesh is encased in a gelatinous-like substance and it is deliciously sweet with musky undertones and a butter-like consistency.
Although there is a slight seasonal peak in early summer and fall, papaya trees produce fruit all year and can now be found in markets thought the year.
If you want to eat them within a day of purchase, choose papayas that have a orange-reddish skin and are slightly soft to the touch. Papayas with patches of yellow will take a few more days to ripen.
Papayas that are totally green or overly hard should not be purchased unless you are planning on cooking them, or unless you want to use the flesh in a dish without the development of the sweet juicy flavor.
Try to avoid Papayas that are bruised or have black spots. Papayas that are partially yellow should be left at room temperature where they will ripen in a few days. This process could be sped up by placing them in a paper bag with a banana. Ripe papayas should be stored in the refrigerator and consumed or dehydrated within one or two days.
Tips for Preparing and Cooking
Papayas can be used in many ways
You can dehydrate the flesh for tasty snacks that will last months! Take them on the go and have handy healthy treats, or reconstitute with water to use the juicy flesh at a later date! Dehydrating is a great way to store and save Papayas for use in the future!
You can scoop out the seeds and eat it like a melon plain or squeeze lime juice on it for a little zest!
Cut Papaya into smaller pieces for a fruit salad adding it only just before serving as it has a tendency to make other fruits soft.
Blend it into a delicious smoothie! You can add ice, some of the seeds and other fruits to spice it up if you like!
Mix diced Papaya, cilantro, ginger and jalapeno peppers together to make a great salsa!
Blend and freeze to make Papaya cicles! A sweet healthy cold treat!
Take the skin, dehydrate it well and blend it into a vitamin powder! Add it to your compost or dehydrate it and blend it and feed it to your plants!
While most people throw them away, Papaya seeds are not only edible but very beneficial. Do keep in mind that eating the seeds are not like eating Papaya fruit. They have a strong flavor, more like a cross between mustard and black peppercorns. In fact, the seeds can be dehydrated and used whole or either grounded for a spicy pepper seasoning while also enjoying the benefits.
The seeds contain high levels of proteolytic enzymes like papain which can help rid your body of parasites. In the same way that papain breaks down undigested protein waste in your food, it may also break down parasites and their eggs.
The seeds from Papaya also contain a unique anthelmintic alkaloid called carpaine that has been shown to be very effective at killing parasitic worms and amoebas. Here is a link to more specific instructions on using the seeds to rid parasites: How to Remove Parasites
Papaya Seeds as a Treatment for Liver Cirrhosis
Liver cirrhosis is a dis ease usually caused by excessive alcohol consumption over many years wherein the liver shrinks and becomes hardened. In this state it is ineffective at removing toxins from the body, leading to a variety of serious health problems.
Papaya seeds are often reported as an effective treatment for liver cirrhosis.
Grinding about five dried seeds or crushing up fresh ones and mixing them with a tablespoon of fresh lime juice and drinking twice a day is believed to be the optimal method for treatment.
Many cirrhosis sufferers have had dramatic improvements with this remedy, however, if you are under a physician’s care and taking medication consult with your doctor first mainly in regards to the papain enzyme that may interfere with medications.
Papaya seed shots taken regularly is said to be helpful with liver detoxification for even people without such liver damage.
Other Possible Remedies
Other uses of Papaya seeds could be to prevent or treat food poisoning, aid in the treatment of candida yeast over growth and even treating viral infections such as Dengue fever in parts of Central America like Costa Rica.
Children and Infants
The benefits of Papaya seed, with their high levels of digestive enzymes, antibacterial, anti-parasitic and liver regenerating properties are powerful. As an adult you do not need many at a time, certainly not a whole fruit’s worth. With that being said, as a precaution, please consider consulting your medical professional before administering them to children or infants as they may be too powerful for young children’s gastrointestinal tracts. Pregnant and breastfeeding women should possibly seek a medical professional advice as well.
In the meantime, share and spread the word to APPRECIATE PAPAYA!