Papayas, also called papaws and pawpaw, are truly one of the most amazing exotic fruits out there. Papayas are known for their amazing health benefits, huge, plentiful supply of vitamins and minerals, great taste, and juicy flesh. Not only is the papaya healthy and delicious, it is also extremely beautiful and fragrant.
Unlike many other exotic fruits, the papaya is actually native to the tropical areas of the Americas, rather than Asia. There are actually two different types of papayas; one large variety with red-orange colored flesh and one smaller papaya variety with yellow colored flesh. The type that you’ve probably eaten is the orange-red colored variety, known as “Maradol,” “Sunrise,” and “Caribbean Red” papayas. These varieties are now grown in Mexico and Belize.
Usually, the papaya is eaten by itself, raw, removing the skin and seeds. However, there are plenty of recipes for the papaya, and they can also be cooked when unripe with green flesh. Cooked papaya is used in a variety of recipes, ranging from curry to salads and stew, especially in Southeast Asian cooking. In fact, papayas can also be made into jelly and fruit preserves since they contain a high amount of pectin.
The leaves of the papaya are also useful: in some places in Asia, papaya leaves are steamed and eaten as a vegetable dish; in addition, throughout the world, some cultures believe that papaya leaves prevent malaria, though this has not been proven.
Papaya has been used in traditional medicine for centuries as a remedy for digestive problems, treating cuts, scrapes, and burns, and even as contraception! Papaya, made into papain ointment, does have a very positive effect on injuries; in fact, when Harrison Ford was filming Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom, he was treated for an injury with papain.
Not only does papaya taste absolutely delicious, if you had to pick a few exotic fruits to eat, papaya should be on your list. This is because papaya provides countless health benefits in addition to the ones I’ve already mentioned, as well as containing a great supply of helpful vitamins and minerals. For example, it contains a rich amount of beta-carotene (vitamin A), provides more vitamin C than even oranges, and more potassium than bananas. These nutrients all work together to reduce your risk of developing various cancers, heart disease, stroke, and cataracts.
In short, papaya is not only delicious, it’s also very beneficial to your own personal health.