Summer - Papaya

How to select for best flavor:

The best way to judge the ripeness of papaya is from its scent. It should have a fruity aroma and give slightly to the touch. Look for smooth, unblemished fruit. Bruises tend to decay quickly. Examine the stem end carefully. This is where decay usually starts. Papayas ripen from the bottom toward the top (stem). If you find one that has yellow speckles over 35 percent of the fruit, it is a good papaya that will ripen at room temperature in a day or two.


Peak of the season:

May and June are the peak months for papaya, but they are generally available all year. Most come from Hawaii and the Caribbean.


Nutritional value:

Papaya is an excellent source of vitamins A and C. It also contains an enzyme called papain that is used in meat tenderizers, and many people believe that it aids digestion. Often this enzyme is taken in pills by people who suffer indigestion. Half of a raw papaya will have about 65 calories and almost no fat, sodium or cholesterol.


General information:

To ripen papaya quickly, put them in a brown paper bag with a banana. This usually does the trick in a day or two. The seeds of papaya can be eaten in small amounts. They have a hot, spicy flavor like mustard or cress.