Exotic fruit: The juicy and healthy papaya

Exotic fruit: The juicy and healthy papaya

The papaya tastes like a melon and smells of apricot. Ripe yellowish colored fruits are pure, but also a pleasure in a fruit salad with kiwi and mango. A dash of lime or lemon juice and a little ginger underline the light honey note. Immature papaya with a green skin can also be eaten. They have a sour taste and can be used in soups and chutney, similar to pumpkin.

Papayas are low in calories and rich in carotenoids (165 micrograms), fiber (1.7 g, especially pectin) and vitamin C (80 mg per 100 g). Depending on the level of maturity, the sugar content is between 6 and 19 percent. The fruit also contains the protein-splitting enzymes papain and chymopapain, which promote digestion.

Before eating, divide the papaya in half and remove the seeds with a spoon. The flesh can then simply be spooned out of the bowl. For further processing, the peel is removed with a sharp knife and the fruit is carefully cut into small pieces. But be careful: the meat is very slippery.

The papaya is also called tree melon and is originally native to the tropics between Bolivia and southern Mexico. Today the largest producing countries are India and Brazil. The berries grow in clusters on palm-like trees up to ten meters high. Depending on the variety, the fruits are round to pear-shaped or elongated. In the middle there are up to 1,000 black seeds. What many do not know: The seeds are edible. They have a high content of mustard glycosides, which give them a peppery sharpness. They are washed, dried, crushed with a mortar and used as a spice.

Papayas are commercially available all year round. Rip on ripe fruits that have lost their green tones and give way under light pressure. They can be kept in the refrigerator for about a week. (Heike Kreutz, aid)

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