Have you ever climbed a papaya tree? I did!
For some time I had a couple of papaya trees around my house and I was super happy just from the thought of how I will harvest the fruits once they will be ripe. But it didn’t happen quite as I was dreaming it would. Many local kids were coming and taking the unripe fruits before I ever got the chance to. So one day I saw an almost ready papaya fruit quite high up in the tree and thought to myself ‘this one needs to be mine, I need to climb up’. So, I did.
As most tree climbers know it is easier to climb up than to come down. Anyway I got my fruit and even a second one, a friend of mine caught them on the ground and I made it back to earth without falling. I’m not sure if I would do it again though.
There are over 20 species of Carica, which are made up of papayas and the similar but more cutely named pawpaws. Today you can find them in any tropical or warm subtropical areas. One interesting fact is that the papaya called Rainbow was one of the first GMO fruits in commercial production, it was developed in the early 2000s with a resistance to ringspots virus. Sadly the majority of exported papayas are now GMO crops, but let’s be fair many crops are nowadays GMO. Luckily for us now we can enjoy all year round Mexican papayas, even if they are not as sweet as the African varieties we used to have.
Like many other tropical fruits it can be eaten by diabetics, because it is low in sugar, but sweet. The papaya is rich in fiber as well as a good source of vitamin C and antioxidants, this means that it is good to prevent high cholesterol levels. The fruit is low in calories so if you are on a diet trying to lose weight then try it out. It is rich in vitamin A, iron, niacin, calcium, folic acid, riboflavin, thiamine, and potassium too.
At home we often use papaya in smoothies, it goes so well with peanut butter, but the fruit has a wide variety of uses. It can be used ripe or unripe, in sweet and sour dishes. When it is not yet ripe it can be perfectly used like a squash, in soups or stews. Once it is ripe you can use it in pies or curries. It is tasty dried alone or with some spices. You can make jam, ice creams, smoothies, use the fruit in salads and even use it to marinade meat!
Papaya salsa recipe
If you are tired of the same simple tomato salsa or just want to try something different and surprise your family or friends then try to make salsa with papaya. It will be fresh, tropical and probably unexpected as we don’t use fruits often for salsa. Here comes the super fast and easy recipe:
- 1 white medium onion
- 1 big tomato (or not, depends if you feel like using it)
- a bunch of fresh coriander
- 175 grams of papaya (the same amount like tomato if you used tomato)
- 1 small fresh lime
- 1 small fresh chili pepper (it can be dry and according the taste)
- smoked paprika
Get ready for chopping! The onion, tomato and papaya should be chopped into cubes, I prefer small ones, and mixed in the bowl. Next I chop the fresh chili into super small pieces and add to the bowl. After that it is the time to add salt, paprika and pepper, and squeeze the lime (don’t add too much it is better less and after tasting to add more if it is necessary). Finally it is time to add chopped coriander!
You can always play with the amounts. If you don’t really like onions then use less, if you don’t feel like tomatoes, then make the salsa just with papaya.
I would recommend to keep the salsa in the fridge for a while before using so the flavor will develop and be nicer. You can use it with chips, nachos, tacos, scrambled eggs or just use it wherever you feel! Enjoy!