Westlake Weekly Update 4. 20. 21
Featured Item: Mexican Papayas
The Mexican papaya, or pawpaw, are large fragrant fruits native to tropical areas such as Central America and southern Mexico. If you want to get technical, they are classified as a berry and grow from an herb! Most people think it is a tree. It is actually a super fast-growing herb that averages 9 feet, but can grow to an astonishing 29 feet in ideal conditions!
These tropical fruits are nutritionally one of the best things to eat! They are particularly great at supporting your immune system. The papaya has 235 milligrams of vitamin C, which is two to three times more than your recommended daily allowance. Plus it’s an excellent source of vitamin A, potassium, and calcium. But, the benefits don’t stop there! The papaya’s seeds are also highly nutritious. They have been linked with a number of health benefits, such as cancer prevention and kidney protection.
Mexican papayas, when ripe, have a sweet, musky flavor and soft texture. The entire fruit is edible! The whole enchilada … the flesh, skin, and seeds! If you’re looking for a sweeter flavor, scoop out the seeds for later, and enjoy the flesh as is. Or, get an extra ripe papaya and throw the whole thing into a blender to use for smoothies. Green, unripe papayas are also used shredded in salads and chutneys, or simmered in soups, stews, and curries.
With all these amazing reasons to eat them, there is just one problem. They stink! Actually, they only stink for some people. Papayas are chock full of an enzyme called papain, which according to scientists has a pungent and offensive smell. Some people are highly sensitive to the enzyme, while others hardly notice it.
Before you curse the papain enzyme, listen to these interesting facts. For one, the enzyme is a powerhouse for our stomachs. It helps our tummies break down “tough to digest” proteins, like eggs and meat. The papaya flesh can also be used as a salt-free meat tenderizer.
Now even though some have said it smells like feet or rotten cantaloupe, don’t let the smell stop you from enjoying the health benefits of eating a papaya. The simple solution is to squeeze lime juice all over the flesh. The sprinkling of lime juice over fresh-cut papaya not only adds a welcome zest, but can completely eliminate the smell that so many people find so off-putting!