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Papaya fruit is packed with numerous health benefiting nutrients. The fruit is one of the favorites of fruit lovers for its nutritional, digestive, and medicinal properties. Papaya tree is grown extensively all over the tropical regions and cultivated for its fruits and latex papain, an enzyme that is used in food industry.
Selection, Usage and Storage Information
Selection: In the store, papayas come in various sizes and maturity; therefore, select the one based on the serving size and timing. Choose the one with intact skin without any bruises or cuts.
Usage: Wash papaya fruit thoroughly in cold running water to remove dust and any pesticide residues. Skin is bitter in taste and inedible. Remove skin with "peeling knife," cut the fruit longitudinally into two equal halves. Gently remove seeds and thin slimy layer loosely adhering to the flesh. Cut the fruit longitudinally like melon or cut into small cubes.
Storage: Unripe fruits can be kept at room temperature for few days but ripen ones should be stored in the refrigerator.
Avoid: However, the fruit should not be eaten raw as it contains toxic alkaloids in its milky latex.
Papayas contain white milk like latex substance, which can cause irritation to skin and provoke allergic reaction in some sensitized persons.
Ripe papaya fruit can be safely used by pregnant women. Unripe, green papaya should be avoided in them since it contains a lot of papain, a proteolytic enzyme that used commercially to tenderize meat. In addition, nripe-papaya fruit, seeds, latex, and leaves also contain carpaine, an alkaloid which could be dangerous when eaten in high doses. Unripe papaya, however, used safely as a cooked vegetable.