Thursday, April 02, 2009

Papaya Primer

The kids are loving papaya! It's been just recently that I've started buying and preparing this tropical fruit. Before then, my main association with papaya was way back when James and I were young-un's. We ate it each morning in our first course fruit plate at the bed and breakfast in Vancouver where we stayed for our honeymoon. The quirky host would describe how he found the varied and delicious produce at this little market or that one along the streets of the neighborhood. The first morning after we returned home we awoke to boxes needing to be unpacked and our workdays looming over us; James turned to me and whined, "I need my papaya!" We laughed, but we really did miss those lovely days!

Since then I've discovered that papaya is very high in Vitamin C - higher than oranges - and has a lot of other benefits. But mostly, it's easy to prepare, soft enough for Sammy to chew, and delicious!

I got the papaya above for $.88/lb on special (regularly $1.27/lb). These are big fruit - this was a smallish one at 3.6 lb. and it made seven cups of cut fruit! I try to get the smallest ripe one they have. To check for ripeness, look for one that is somewhat soft and has some yellow areas on its green skin. If you pay attention to how far food has traveled, I'll mention that they seem to all come from Mexico.

To prepare, cut in half and scoop out the seeds with a spoon. Then slice into wedges. I lay the wedges on their sides and cut off the peel, just like I do for cantelope. I serve the wedges, or cut into pieces for the kids.

Since it is a lot of fruit, we eat what we can in a few days, then we drop the rest in the freezer to use in smoothies later. Yum!

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