84.3 F
Charlotte Amalie
Saturday, July 13, 2024


March 31, 2002 – With ripe papayas now showing up at roadside produce stands (and on your trees, if you have some), this is the perfect time to whip up a batch of Papaya Smoothies.
Sometimes called "pawpaw" (inaccurately, since the pawpaw is a wild American fruit not botanically related to the papaya), papaya derives its name from the Carib word abadai. Both the Caribs and the Arawaks cultivated this fruit throughout the Caribbean islands. Christopher Columbus is said to have described the papaya in his journals as a "fruit of the angels." Explorers took papaya seeds to such far-away places as the Philippines and Nepal. In the last hundred years, the papaya has become a favorite fruit in many locales around the world.
When it comes to selecting fresh papaya, the color of the skin is usually a good indicator of the fruit's degree of ripeness. Ripe fruit is mostly yellow-orange but may still have some green coloring, so feel if the papaya yields slightly to pressure when handled. To ripen a green papaya, place it in a paper bag and set it on the kitchen counter. Check the fruit daily to know when it reaches the desired stage of ripeness.
Nutritionally, papaya is an excellent choice. It is rich in the cancer-fighting antioxidant nutrients beta-carotene and vitamin C and is chockfull of tummy-aiding dietary fiber, while being heart-healthfully low in sodium, as well as fat- and cholesterol-free. Half a medium-sized papaya provides only 60 calories.
Ripe papaya, with its green-orange-yellowish blush on the outside and soft inner texture, is most often eaten out of hand with a squeeze of lemon or lime and perhaps a dash of cayenne pepper to temper its sweet flavor. It also tastes great in a fruit salad, wrapped in a thin slice of smoked turkey or ham, and made into a pie or tart for dessert.
Sliced lengths of papaya can be grilled to go along with chicken or fish, and chunks can be threaded onto kabobs with other sweet or savory foods. But my family's favorite recipe — and a speedy one — is for Papaya Smoothies. Adding bananas to this recipes lends a creamy flavor without high-fat dairy products. Try it!
Fresh Papaya-Banana Smoothies
1 medium-size papaya (enough for 3 cups)
3 ripe bananas
1 cup 100 percent orange juice
1 cup crushed ice
Place all ingredients in a blender, and process for 30 to 60 seconds until smooth.
Makes 4 servings. Per serving: 150 calories, no fat, no cholesterol, 3 mg sodium.
Variation: Spoon smoothie mixture into small plastic cups and freeze, then serve as a sherbet-like dessert.

Publisher's note : Like the St. Thomas Source now? Find out how you can love us twice as much — and show your support for the islands' free and independent news voice … click here.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email
Keeping our community informed is our top priority.
If you have a news tip to share, please call or text us at 340-228-8784.

Support local + independent journalism in the U.S. Virgin Islands

Unlike many news organizations, we haven't put up a paywall – we want to keep our journalism as accessible as we can. Our independent journalism costs time, money and hard work to keep you informed, but we do it because we believe that it matters. We know that informed communities are empowered ones. If you appreciate our reporting and want to help make our future more secure, please consider donating.