Thursday, May 29, 2008

Paradise Papaya

I apologize, but I was lacking any other options at the time of purchase so this will be the last time I use the "wow, that's a big fruit" criteria for inclusion, particularly when the ever-so-common watermelon is much larger than a papaya. But hey, at least it's non-standard in Western society and somewhat exotic.

Papayas are called Pawpaws in Australia... a very early memory of mine involves watching a handful of fruit bats (frighteningly large creatures indeed) devouring the sweet fruit of a pawpaw tree.


Anyway, this particular cultivar of papaya I purchased was a "Paradise Papaya" and in this case paradise means pink. Most papayas have a golden yellow/orange flesh but this one had a more pinkish hue (okay, so my white balance is a bit off in the picture, just believe me when I say it was pink).

According to Wikipedia, the seeds are actually edible but I assure you they are far from palatable. So, after scraping them out and slicing away the rind, you're actually left with a disappointingly small amount of flesh. There will actually be more meat attached to the rind but it's rather bitter so only take the soft flesh.

The flavor of the Paradise Papaya and all papayas in general is fairly unique. There is a definite similarity to cantaloupe in texture and a slight resemblance in the taste but papayas are incredibly sweet and have a slightly unnatural note to them, as if they're artificially flavored with chemicals created by men in a laboratory as opposed to chemicals created by a tree on a farm. I don't mean to say that the flavor is unpleasant, on the contrary it is rather nice and will beckon you to devour the entire mass of extracted flesh in one or two sittings.

papaya open

Grab a papaya if you're looking for something a little more exotic than the run-of-the-mill melon but be prepared to toss the bulk of it away (onto your compost heap, of course).

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