The papaya (La papaye)
In the list of tropical fruits available in Guadeloupe Archipelago, I am calling the papaya. Let’s find out more about this smooth skinned and tasty fruit that Christopher Columbus used to call the “fruit of angels”
Origin & Description
Native to Central America, papaya trees are large, fast-growing and short-lived with a single trunk that can reach from 15 to 35 feet (5 to 10 metres) tall. The palmate leaves are deeply lobed and large reaching from 60 to 90 centimetres in width. Papayas fruits are usually spherical or cylindrical in form with an average length of 20 inches (50 centimetres) and can weigh up to 11 pounds (5 kg). However, the biggest in the variety found in Guadeloupe Archipelago weighs about 2 pounds (1kg). Considered as a berry, the ripe papaya fruit is slightly sweet with a musky taste. The flesh is orange to salmon-coloured and has a soft and juicy consistency. There are multiple black and round-shaped seeds encased in a gelatinous- like substance in the inner cavity of the fruit. The seeds are edible although they have a bitter taste.
Ripe papayas are commonly consumed fresh as a breakfast or dessert. There is also a wide range of products you can easily make from the fruit such as jams, fruit juices, ices cream, pies, confections and dried papaya fruits. Unripe green papayas can be used and cooked as a vegetable in several ways including salads, stews, stir-fry or gratin. In Guadeloupe Archipelago, the papaya gratin is a famous dish that will delight your taste buds. In some parts of Asia, the young leaves of the papaya are steamed and eaten like spinach.
Nutrients content and Health benefits
Papayas are rich sources of antioxidant nutrients such as vitamins A, beta-carotene, vitamins C and flavonoids, the B vitamins including folic acid, pyridoxine (vitamin B6), riboflavin and thiamin as well as a large amount of minerals like potassium, copper and magnesium. There are also full of fibres.
Almost all parts of the papaya (fruit, seed, root, stem, leaf, flower, peel and latex) are used for their health benefits, the list is endless. Here are few health benefits of papayas:
– Asthma prevention
– Cancer prevention
– Constipation prevention
– Digestion assistance
– Improvement of Eye health
– Intestinal parasites killer
– Improvement and healing of the skin
– Reduction of risk of stroke
– Reduction of risk of cardiovascular disease
In Guadeloupe Archipelago, papayas are accessible throughout the year. Don’t miss it out when visiting especially the papaya gratin served with an excellent stew.