Papaya (Fruit from the plant Carica Papaya)

Food and Recipe — By on March 1, 2009 12:20 PM



Native to the tropics, the Carica Papaya is a large tree-like plant that grows approximately 5-10 meters tall.
There are two types of papayas:  Mexican and Hawaiian
Hawaiian:  the one most often found in the supermarket.  It is about 1 pound and it much easier to harvest than the Mexican papaya, as the plant seldom grows taller than 8 ft.
Mexican: Much larger, weighing in at around 10 pounds and measuring more than 15″ long.
The fruit is ripe when it feels soft (like a ripe avocado or a bit softer) and its skin is an amber to orange color.  It is usually eaten raw, without the skin or seeds.  The unripe green papaya can also be eaten, if cooked, and is usually found in curries, salads, and stews.  Papaya has a high amount of pectin so it can be used to make jellies.
The green, unripe papaya also has an enzyme called Papain, which helps to breakdown meats.  So, if you eat a very meaty meal, eat some cooked green papaya afterwards to help with digestion. 
CAUTION:  Folklore tells and several medical studies confirm that green papaya has capabilities of acting as a contraceptive and even dangerous to pregnant women.
Sweetened Rum Whipped Cream:
1 1/2 cups heavy cream

4 1/2 teaspoons confectioner’s sugar
4 1/2 teaspoons coconut-flavored rum
In a bowl, combine the papaya and lime juice. In a small saucepan, combine the sugar, pineapple juice, and orange juice and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer, stirring, until the sugar dissolves. Add the marinated papaya and simmer until tender, about 7 minutes. With a slotted spoon, transfer the papaya to a bowl and set aside.
In a small bowl, combine the cornstarch and water, stirring to dissolve. Add to the simmering juices and whisk. Add the lime and orange zests, and cook over low heat whisking until the mixture thickens, stirring occasionally. Remove from the heat and add the papaya. Add the butter and stir until melted. Let cool. Pour into the prebaked shell. Refrigerate until set, about 2 hours.
In a medium bowl, whip the cream and sugar until soft peaks form. Add the rum and whip until stiff peaks form, being careful not to overwhip. Top with whipped cream and sprinkle with the toasted coconut. Arrange the lime slices in a decorative pattern and serve. Refrigerate any leftover pie.
Shortbread Pie Crust:
7 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into pieces, room temperature
1/4 cup sugar
1 large egg yolk
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour

In a bowl, combine the butter and sugar and blend to make a paste. Add the yolk and blend thoroughly. Add the flour and using your fingers, blend to make a crumbly dough, being careful not to overwork. Pat firmly into a 9-inch pie pan and let rest in the refrigerator at least 2 hours or overnight. Remove from the refrigerator and prick the bottom of the crust with the tines of a fork. Place a sheet of parchment or foil in the pie tin and fill with pie weights, dried beans or rice and blind bake the crust in a preheated 400 degree oven for 10 minutes. Remove the pie weights and foil and bake for another 5 minutes or until light golden brown.

If you have any great recipes with your favorite foods, please send them to me and I will include them in this section of an upcoming issue.  Or if you have any suggestions about what veggie, fruit, herb etc. you’d like to know more about- Just email me at  Thanks!


Recipes furnished by,


Papaya Pie with Shortbread Crust
3 cups chopped fresh, seeded papaya
1 tablespoon lime juice
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup pineapple juice
1/2 cup orange juice
1/3 cup cornstarch
1/3 cup water
1 teaspoon lime zest
1 teaspoon orange zest
1 tablespoon butter
Shortbread Crust, recipe follows
1/2 cup lightly toasted sweetened coconut flakes
6 slices lime 
(see also Dr. Russo’s papaya recipe in his
Vitamin C article)





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