Papaya is a tropical fruit that has slowly become popular as it has been integrated into international markets, to the point that its nutritional properties are increasingly appreciated, especially for its effect as a natural detoxifier. A fruit, to the eye, perhaps too large but, with its exotic and hard-to-define flavor, it is far from the most common fruits and has captivated the palates of populations that until recently were unaware of its existence.
In the form of juice or in its natural state, papaya has been gaining more and more followers. But not only its exotic flavor is what makes it attractive, it is also very nutritious and has a large amount of vitamins, B, A (or beta-carotene) and E, and C, the importance of which in papaya , due to its quantity, is greater than that offered by the so frequently recommended Kiwi. Photo: MA PUSHPA KUMARA
The papaya is the fruit of the ‘Carica papaya’, a fast-growing and short-lived perennial tree, from 3 to 15 years, and from 2 to 10 meters high.
Its fruit is an oval, oblong, almost cylindrical berry, laterally grooved at the top, which can reach large dimensions, from 10 to 24 centimeters in length and from 7 to 17 centimeters in width.
Its weight is usually between 500-1000 grams, although there are specimens that can reach up to 5 kilos, and smaller varieties around 300-400 grams.
Thin-skinned, yellowish-green, yellow or orange when ripe, it is fleshy, juicy, sweet, soft and its pulp is orange with a buttery texture with small, round, shiny black seeds inside.
Its fragrant aroma is reminiscent of melon and its taste can be described as a fusion of pear, melon and strawberry flavors.
Mexico, the birthplace of the papaya
Originating from southern mexicoits tree is grown in climates with temperatures ranging from 15-35 ºC degrees, mainly in the states of Michoacán, Colima, Veracruz and Oaxaca, among others.
However, there are those who consider that it comes from the Peruvian Andes.
It also grows naturally in the Caribbean and Florida, mainly.
Papaya production has spread over time to South American countries, such as Colombia, Peru, Brazil, Argentina, etc.
In Spain, they are grown in the Canary Islands. Other papaya-producing countries are in East Africa, as well as South Africa, Sri Lanka, India, Malaysia, Australia and Israel, and although until recently it was considered an exotic fruit, it has now been introduced to the markets of almost worldwide and can be acquired at any time of the year.
According to Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO)the country that produces the most amount of papaya is India with one 43% of the total papaya fruit in the world.
Different types of papayas
Although commercially they are distinguished between eight or nine varietiesthe most relevant are those with redder meat and a weight between 300-500 grams of the group called ‘Not more’with a pear shape, sweet flavor and hard shell, and which ranks first in the world in terms of exports.
‘Sunrise’also from the ‘Solo’ group, it is more oval and slightly elongated, of excellent quality and good resistance to transport and handling, it comes mainly from crops in Brazil and the Canary Islands.
To this last group belongs one of the most commercial varieties, ‘Golden’golden in color and taste more insipid.
The papaya ‘Formosa’Brazilian papaya, also called giant papaya or ‘papayón’, large, can weigh between 2 and 3 kilos, with pinker, juicier and sweeter flesh.
Within this variety there are the yellow ones, most appreciated, and green ones, with very weak skin and little resistance.
In the form of juice or in its natural state, papaya has been gaining more and more followers.
But not only its exotic flavor is what makes it attractive, it is also very nutritious and has a large amount of vitamins, B, A (or beta-carotene), and E, and C, the importance of which in papaya , due to its quantity, is greater than that offered by the frequently recommended kiwi.
Vitamin C acts effectively against pathogenic agents and can be taken in large quantities without a problem, since it is not stored in the body: what the body does not need it excretes through the urine.
A great help to detoxify the body
Other important components of papaya are the sodium, calcium, iron, potassium, phosphorus i magnesiumfundamental substances for the immune systemthe cellular functions and his metabolism.
It is also rich for its contribution of water i fiber (with laxative effect) and has a low caloric value for the small amounts of carbohydrates.
It contains papainan enzyme that helps to dilute the proteins in food and is very useful in digestive problemssuch as gastroenteritis, colitis, hiatus, heartburn, etc.
Our food often lacks fiber, vitamins, enzymes and mineral salts, so toxic substances are stored in our cells causing a disorder in our metabolism, digestion processes and water levels.
Papaya is a great help to the detoxification of toxinssince the ingestion of this fruit guarantees a debugging of the intestine in depth (toxins in the intestine are the origin of many diseases), as well as the regeneration of the glandular system.
For gastronomy, papaya is a light fruit that always feels good. Perfect to drink plain, alone or accompanied by orange juice, cheese and, especially, with a few drops of lime to enhance its flavor.
It is excellent to combine in salads, to accompany meat, seafood or fish dishes, as well as in the preparation of desserts and drinks.
The seeds, which have a strong, pungent flavor, are usually not eaten, unless you want to make use of your own laxative propertiesaccording to the specialist Eduardo Dubon.
Finally, nutrition specialists assure that those who eat the ripe papaya fruit, called ‘Carita papaya’, will be contributing big profityour health