Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Tuesday's Cupful: Papaya

Tropical fruit that refreshes

This fruit may bring thoughts of the tropics and Central America where it originated and thrives. The plant belongs to the caricaceae family. Look for the oblong or football shaped fruits that have an inner cavity filled with black seeds. Ripe papaya has bright orange or reddish skin with inner orange flesh that’s soft and cuts easily with a sharp knife. Expect a refreshingly sweet and unique flavor with a silky texture from ripe papaya that’s usually eaten raw. Meanwhile, young papaya possesses green skin with a firmer inside texture that’s off-white or cream colored. Cooks usually use young papaya for cooking or pickling. The fruits also contain the chemical known as papain, which is a natural enzyme that may also serve as a meat tenderizer. Add slices of young mango to any wet marinade with seasoned meat ½ hour before cooking to adequately soften tougher meat cuts. Consumers can usually find papayas at their favorite International foods supermarket. Papayas are a good source of vitamin E, folic acid, and potassium.

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