When I was young(er), I didn’t like Papaya. I didn’t think it had a great taste or a great smell. But as I grew up, I picked up a special liking towards this fruit. I liked papaya in fruit salad because it sort of offsets the over-sweetness of pineapple, banana, grapes, etc. in it.
It seems, Papaya was introduced to India only around 400 years ago by the Portuguese. Papaya is said to have originated in Mexico and people there have been using (eating) it for thousands of years.
The botanical name of Papaya is Papaya Caricaya. A papaya plant (tree) can grow up to a height of 8 – 33 feet, is not affected much by insects, can grow in many types of soil, grows rapidly and gives fruits within three years.
Some interesting facts you need to know about Papaya
- Papaya is not a seasonal fruit. It grows throughout the year.
- Papaya is rich in Vitamin A, Vitamin C, Calcium and Minerals.
- Papaya contains an enzyme called, ‘Pepsin/papine’ which helps digest difficult-to-digest foods.
- There are three types of papayas in India – The ones that grow in the mountains, the ones that grow in the plains and the larger ones (imported variety). There are several sub-categories under each.
- It is better to avoid eating papaya during the night.
- Pregnant ladies need to avoid eating papaya. In the olden days, it was used for abortion.
- People having sugar/diabetics can eat papaya. This fruit doesn’t affect them.
- Papaya controls blood cholesterol, BP and helps digest foods quickly.
- Many beauty products use papaya, as it is good for the skin.
- Papaya juice (shown in the above picture) is common (but I don’t remember drinking papaya juice recently?).
- The fruit part of papaya can be red or yellow, depending on the variety.
- Hawaiian Papaya is very famous.
- It is one of the fruits used in fruit salad (I love it) or it can be eaten separately.
- Adding some lime and salt to papaya makes it healthier.
- Papaya is used for making pickle, kheer and halwa.
- In addition to using papaya as a fruit, raw green papaya can also be cooked to make dishes like kootu (in Tamil, not sure what it’s called in other languages).
Have you used papaya for cooking? I don’t remember eating papaya as a cooked vegetable. Or maybe I have, without my knowledge!
PS: Some information presented in this post is from informal sources and hence not verified. The first picture is a copyright free picture and has been uploaded by the United States department of Agriculture.