Papayas are sweet, succulent with brightly colored flesh, reminding us of sunny beaches on tropical islands. These tropical beauties are rich in beta carotene, vitamin C, folate and potassium. Papayas are grown in Florida and Hawaii in the United States, and are in peak season during early summer and fall. While buying papayas, select ones that are firm to touch, the skin being partly or mostly yellow in color and without bruises. Papayas may be stored at room temperature for a few days until the skin turns completely yellow-orange, and the ripe fruit can be stored in the refrigerator for up to one week.
Fun Fact: Did you know that papayas contain the enzyme papain which is used to tenderize meat? Try a marinade of smashed or crushed papayas. Add them to a Ziploc bag with your uncooked meat and refrigerate before cooking!
Here are some additional ways to enjoy this delicious fruit:
– Chop up some papayas and add to salsa, salads or breakfast cereal for a sweet twist.
– Add them to smoothies.
– Purée some papaya in a blender and freeze in popsicle molds for some papaya popsicles.
– Dice them and enjoy as is with a squeeze of lemon juice or along with other fruits and relish a yummy fruit bowl.