The Green papaya fruit weighs an average of one to two pounds. It is pear-shaped with a true green peel and a pale translucent yellow-green flesh that bears a pocket of seeds in its central core. The flesh and the seeds are the edible part of the fruit. The flesh is similar in texture and consistency to that of a mango. It is semi-firm and succulent, easily pierced when ripe. The flesh’s flavor is lean and subtly sweet. Its seeds are tart and peppery. They can be ground and used as a pepper substitute.
Green papaya are available year-round.
The Green papaya tree is a short-lived and fast growing woody herb. It grows to about 12 feet in height. The Green papaya is one of two types of papaya. It is also classified as the Mexican papaya, signaling its origins. The other papaya is Hawaiian and is more common because it is sweeter and easier to harvest. There are actually several different cultivars of green papaya, including hybrids, so there are variations in size, weight and flesh color. The largest Green papaya recorded weighed fifteen pounds.
Papaya is known as the “power fruit” as it is used as a universal remedy for many health disorders and diseases. It contains beneficial enzymes and has a high antioxidant content. It strengthens the immune system, helps the digestive system and protects against free radicals.
Green papaya are most often used in savory dishes, as they have little of the tropical sweetness associated with ripe Hawaiian or Mexican papaya. Grated into salads it has a crunchy, cucumber-like texture and mild flavor. To prepare, cut in half; remove seeds. Remove skin with a vegetable peeler or paring knife. To store, chill only when ripe. Serve within a day or two or its fragile flavor will be lost.
Though Green papaya is not a native fruit to these countries, it is most commonly used in Vietnamese and Thai cuisine.
The Green papaya is native to tropical Southern and Central America. It grows wild and can be easily cultivated by seed. It prefers heat and sunshine within a temperate tropical to semi-tropical climate. The trees are not very wind tolerant, nor do they prefer cold or excessive rainfall. Cultivation for home fruit production is common as growing conditions can be controlled.
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