There are two types of papaya commonly sold in grocery stores: Mexican and Hawaiian. Today we are going to talk about Mexican papaya also known as a Maradol papaya or a Caribbean red papaya.
Maradol papaya is very low in calories and contains no cholesterol; however, is a rich source of phytochemicals, minerals, and vitamins!
Half of a papaya is only about 70 calories, contains 2 grams of fiber, and is rich in antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals.
? Vitamins A, B, C, E
? Minerals like calcium, potassium, phosphate, magnesium, copper, and iron
? Phytochemicals like bioflavonoids and carotenoids
Papayas can help improve digestion thanks to their high vitamin and enzyme content and are also reported to have anti-inflammatory and cancer-fighting properties.
Maradols are also loaded with enzymes such as papain and carpain.
? Papain aides digestion and soothes your stomach; it is also a meat tenderizer
? Carpain is thought to be good for the heart
Offers protection against developing heart disease by preventing atherosclerosis of blood vessels due to its high vitamin C content. The high concentration of carotenoid phytochemicals and antioxidant vitamins A and E help prevent the oxidation of cholesterol that can build up inside artery walls.
? 1/2 papaya contains 150% your recommended daily intake of Vitamin C (more than an orange)
? A good source of carotenoid phytochemicals lycopene and beta-carotene
? Antioxidant affects of beta-carotene, vitamin A and vitamin E
Provides protection against developing colon cancer with a complex nutritional source of antioxidants, phytochemicals, minerals, and fiber.
? Rich in potassium
? Rich in folate (vitamin B9)
Supports a healthy immune system and helps to prevent colds, systemic ear infections and flu.
? A good source of beta carotene
? Contains potassium and folate
? Rich in vitamins A and C
Papaya is also good for the hair and helps in controlling dandruff
When ripe the Maradol is a nice yellow color and slightly soft to the touch. It is okay to purchase at the store when the papaya is still mostly green. If purchased when green, keep on the counter to continue to ripen. To speed up the ripening process, place papayas near fruits like apples, bananas or pears. Place inside a paper bag, loosely closed for a day or two. It can be stored for up to four days but tastes best when eaten within a few days of being ripe. Check daily as they are ripening and keep an eye out for bruises, cuts, soft spots and mold.
The simplest way to eat it is to cut the Maradol down the center lengthwise, scoop out the round seeds, and eat it with a spoon. You can also use a melon baller to scoop out and serve the meat of the papaya or cut into slices and serve like melon.
- Papayas lack acidity so adding lime will enhance its flavor
- Add chunks of the raw fruit to ice cream or yogurt smoothies
- Cubes of papaya are a nice contrast in a fruit salad with pineapple, strawberries, orange and banana
- Top with a little shaved coconut and a squirt of lime juice
- Instead of melon, wrap slices of prosciutto around slices of papaya
- Great in salsas or marinades served with fish, chicken, curries, stews or just as is
Papaya Avocado Salsa
Juice of 1/2 lime
4 tomatillos, papery husks removed and flesh rinsed and chopped
1 avocado, peeled, pitted and chopped
2 cups peeled, seeded and cubed red Maradol papaya
1/4 tsp salt
Combine all ingredients and enjoy!
Sweet Roasted Papaya
2 Tbsp light brown sugar
1/4 tsp round ginger
2 Papayas (cut into halves & seeded)
1 lime cut into fours
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
At 450 degree preheat the oven
Take a small sized bowl and combine together ginger and sugar
In a 10 by 13 inch baking plate place the papaya, chopped side up
Scatter the sugar mixture over every piece
Bake in oven for 40-45 minutes or until the edges of papaya begins to become dark in color
Brush the dissolved sugar mixture 3-4 times during cooking
Remove from the oven and sprinkle the cayenne pepper and place lime wedges before serving