Once called the “fruit of the angels” by explorer Christopher Columbus, papaya has been a favorite fruit of many for quite some time. Its sweet taste and smooth consistency make the fruit’s flesh a great choice for cooking or just enjoying raw. Continue reading to discover how to eat papaya as well as some delicious ways to incorporate it into your recipe book.
Here’s How to Eat Papaya in 4 Simple Ways:
Papaya is very versatile and can be enjoyed in salads, baked goods, savory meals, and even raw. The selection of the fruit is important in regards to how you plan to enjoy it.
Kapaho papayas, usually grown in Hawaii and Costa Rica, are a smaller sized version of the fruit known for their sweeter flavor and lighter yellow flesh. These papayas are best for adding into a fruit salad or enjoying plain.
Mexican papayas are larger and have a more subtle taste and darker orange flesh, making them more suitable for cooking.
Green papayas can also be eaten and are a staple in many Thai dishes and salads that add a refreshing taste to otherwise savory meals.
1. Eating Raw Papaya:
To enjoy a papaya raw, cut it in half with a sharp paring knife and scoop out the seeds from the middle. While the seeds are edible, they do have a more bitter and peppery taste that may not compliment the sweetness of the fruit’s flesh.
Rinse the hollowed out centers under cold water to clear away any pulp or left over seeds, then squeeze a fresh lemon or lime over the fruit to enhance its natural sweetness. You can now enjoy the fruit either by scooping out spoonfuls or slicing it into sections.
2. Add to a Fruit Salad:
To spice up a fruit salad, add cubes of papaya to a mix of bananas, oranges and berries and toss it all in a yogurt and lemon juice dressing for a sweet and fresh snack.
Alternatively, you can add the fruit to a mixed greens salad and even toss some of the seeds on top for an added crunch.
3. Add to a Dish:
Add the fruit to a savory dish by grinding chunks of green papaya with lime juice, sugar, garlic and tamarind juice, then adding the combination to a Vietnamese or Thai soup.
4. To Make a Dessert:
For a sweet dessert cake alternative, you can also bake a loaf of papaya bread much in the same way you’d make a zucchini or banana bread and sprinkle it with chopped nuts for an extra crunch.
Healthy Papaya Recipes
Want to try adding papaya to your diet? We’ve got some simple recipes for breakfast, dinner and dessert to get you started.
1. Papaya Breakfast Parfait
The simplest of the bunch and great if your mornings are often spent rushing around. Try cubing the papaya the night before and storing it in the fridge to make this dish even easier.
- ¾ cup yogurt (vanilla or low-fat plain)
- 1 cup cubed papaya chunks
- 2 teaspoons toasted wheat germ
Top vanilla yogurt (or low-fat plain yogurt if you’re watching your waist) with cubed papaya. Sprinkle toasted wheat germ over top and enjoy.
2. Green Papaya Salad
A fresh and delicious appetizer for any meal.
- ¼ tablespoon grated lime zest
- ¼ cup lime juice
- 2 tablespoons packed brown sugar
- 2 tablespoons fish sauce
- Hot chilies minced to taste
- 3 cups julienned green papaya
- ½ cup thinly sliced sweet onion
- ½ cup pea shoots or bean sprouts
- Fresh ground pepper to taste
Whisk together of grated lime zest, lime juice, fish sauce, packed brown sugar, and a sprinkle of minced hot chilies in a large bowl.
Stir thoroughly then add julienned green papaya, thinly sliced sweet onion, and chopped pea shoots or bean sprouts.
Toss everything together and sprinkle with fresh ground pepper before serving.
Related: An Easy Recipe Using Papaya Seeds
3. Papaya Lime Sorbet
This recipe requires a little bit of prep but the work is worth the sweet and healthy treat it creates. A great alternative to traditional ice cream on a hot day.
- 8 cups peeled, seeded and diced papaya
- ½ cup water
- ½ cup sugar
- ¼ cup coconut milk, divided in half
- 2 tablespoons lime juice, divided in half
- 1 teaspoon lime zest, divided in half
- 2 pinches salt, divided in half
Freeze peeled and diced papaya overnight.
The next day combine water and sugar in a saucepan and bring to a boil to create simple syrup. Pour the syrup into a glass measuring cup and set aside to cool for at least 15 minutes.
Remove the frozen papaya and set out to defrost for these 15 minutes.
Put half the frozen papaya into a food processor along with half of the simple syrup, 2 tablespoons of coconut milk, 1 tablespoon of lime juice, ½ teaspoon of lime zest and a sprinkle of salt.
Pulse until smooth and transfer into a large serving bowl.
Repeat the process with the other half of the frozen papaya and remaining ingredients.
Packed with vitamin C, fiber and potassium among a host of other nutrients, papayas are a healthy and delicious edition to any meal plan. Experiment with one of the above recipes and try the sweet and healthy fruit today.