Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Tropical Delight!
My friend, Helen, gave me a papaya from her neighbor's yard the other day. It was a big piece of fruit and still a bit hard. So I kept it on the counter for a few days to let it ripen.

To give you some perspective, the mango on the left is really a good sized piece of fruit, but look at that papaya! Wow. Some papayas grow to upwards of 20lbs. Among the different varieties of fruit, the papaya is known as a nutritional masterpiece. It's rich, not only in Vitamin C, but folate and potassium. The papaya actually contains a higher percentage of Vitamain C and potassium than oranges. It's also a good source of fiber as well as an excellent source of papain, which acts as a natural digestive aid, breaking down protein and cleansing the digestive track. Even the seeds are edible and will add a little peppery bite to salads, sauces or salsas.

As the days went by, I thought of several interesting things to do with this marvelous piece of fruit. The sweet, ripe flesh could star in a fruit or vegetable salad. Or I could purée it and serve over a rice or tapioca pudding. In the end, I puréed half and blended it with a frozen banana for the ultimate smoothie!

A ripe papaya has a golden yellow outer skin and the flesh is smooth, silky and a deep pinkish-orange color with a sweet musky flavor. It's easy to peel with a paring knife or a vegetable peeler works well, too. Scoop the seeds out with a spoon and the fruit is good to go, however you choose to eat it.

Mother Nature certainly does provide a feast of fabulous foods to tickle our palates and keep us healthy. Using a wide variety of fresh fruits and vegetables gives us the best shot at staying healthy.

Till next time . . . keep on cooking!

1 comment:

Freya and Paul said...

Wow, that is one big piece o' fruit! Making a smoothie seems the best way to retain the flavour and all the health benefits of papaya too (although it's supposed to be very good for the skin).