4 Jul 2006

Soothing Papaya ( Paw Paw)

Papaya (also known as Paw Paw in Australia and Southern Africa) is a very nutritious tropical fruit. Grown all over the world in the Tropics, it is believed to originally come from Central America. It is a sweet fruit, gentle to the system, with the consistencey of butter.

It contains rich sources of antioxidant nutrients such as carotene, vitamins C, A, E and B, folate, potassium, magnesium, pantothenic acid, dietary fiber and flavonoids. Papaya also contains the digestive enzyme papain. About a tenth of the edible portion is carbohydrate.

Papaya's papain is an excellent aid to digestion as it works on breaking down protein in food. The unripe fruit has more papain than the ripe fruit and is often eaten raw or cooked. With it's pain relieving properties as well, papain is useful combatting dyspepsia and other digestive orders. Also It is an ideal food for invalids because the flesh is easy to chew and swallow. Nearly 80% of American beer is treated with papain to help the beer remain clear as it disolves the protein fragments.

Papaya also contains arginine (essential for male fertility) and carpain (for a healthy heart). Much higher in carotene than other fruits, papaya is an excellent food for fighting against free radicals. Papaya is low in calories (approx 55 cals to 100grams - 3.5ozs).

In some parts of the world like Java it is eaten to relieve rheumatism and arthritis pain and swelling. The skin is used as a poultice for wounds and the seeds are often used in the place of black pepper.

To ripen papaya you can use the same method as ripening avocados and that is putting it in a paper bag with a ripe banana. Once ripe should be eaten as soon as possible but can be refrigerated for a day or two. Ripe papaya is excellent at breakfast time, as a starter at lunchtime, in a salad or even as a dessert. Serve as it is, with a little citrus juice or chopped on top of cereal or in a fruit or vegetable salad. Often dried or made into fruit sorbet and smoothies.

Recipes of the Day

Banana, Papaya, Apple Juice & Lime Juice Smoothie

1 Large Banana
1 Papaya
½ a Lime
2-3 Apples

Peel and scoop out the insides of the Papaya before freezing with the banana. Add to a blender along with the freshly juiced apples and lime. Blend well and serve immediately.

Papaya Parippu Curry

200 g / 7 oz unripe papaya, peeled and cut into chunks
25 g / 1 oz chana dal
50 g / 2 oz freshly grated or desiccated coconut
1 green chilli
1 tsp fennel seeds
2 Tbsp oil
1 tsp mustard seeds
large onion, finely chopped
A few curry leaves
1 tsp turmeric powder

In a large saucepan of salted water, cook the papaya, covered, over a medium heat for 15 minutes until the fruit is tender. Drain and set aside.
Meanwhile, wash the chana dal in cold water. In a small saucepan, bring 225 ml / 8 fl oz of salted water to the boil, add the chana dal and cook, covered, for 10-15 minutes until well cooked. Set aside.
Using a spice mill or pestle and mortar, grind the coconut, green chilli and fennel to a fine paste.
In a large frying pan, heat the oil. Add the mustard seeds and as they begin to pop, add the onion and curry leaves. Stir well and cook over a medium heat until the onion is golden brown. Add the ground coconut mixture, then reduce the heat and cook, stirring for 2-3 minutes. Mix in the cooked papaya and chana dal and serve hot.

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