Jamaica produces several varieties of the Papaya or Pawpaw (which are export crops). This deliciously sweet fruit, which was described as a ‘fruit of the angels’ by Columbus, grows year round, but is more readily available during the summer.
The skin is yellow-gold/reddish-gold, with hints of green and the fruit contains many seeds that look like Jamaican Pimento. It’s hard to describe the taste, other than sweet, but it’s best defined as a combination of sugary fruits—mango, banana, not-quite-pineapple—and the flesh is creamy soft.
Pawpaw likes tropical climates and grows in North and South America, Asia and Africa. The trees are male (which never produces fruit), female (needs pollination by male trees to produce edible fruit) and hermaphrodite/bisexual (self-pollinates). The Jamaican variety is rich in antioxidants (Vitamins C&E, Beta-carotene), plus B vitamins, minerals and fibre.
All together, these rich compounds are helpful in promoting cardiovascular health, a healthy immune system and prevents colon cancer and the buildup of cholesterol. Pawpaw also contains the enzyme papain, which is good for treating allergies and injuries and helps reduce inflammation (think about those who suffer from asthma, osteoarthritis & rheumatoid arthritis).
Papain is also used in producing meat tenderizer. Consuming at least three helpings of Pawpaw per day is said to help with preventing vision deterioration brought on by age. (This by a study commissioned in 2004) Papaya can be eaten as is, after slicing it lengthwise and removing the seeds, added to salads, fish, cooked when green, and makes a delicious drink.
So, are you up for trying out some Papaya?