It is still winter in New England and although I had the opportunity to escape to a tropical climate during February, there are many people who have endured this long winter and are in need of something tropical and exotic.
Enter the papaya.
Although papaya is native to Central America it is imported to New England grocery stores and can be found right now in the produce section. It is a funky looking fruit from the outside, but down right beautiful on the inside. The salmon colored flesh and large peppercorn looking seeds can both be eaten.
Papaya flesh and its peppery seeds are very nutritious and contain needed digestive enzymes known as papain that help digest proteins. Rich in antioxidants, bioflavonoids, and Vitamin C, papaya is an excellent fruit to add to your diet. Papaya is also a good source of fiber, folate, potassium, Vitamin A, Vitamin E, and Vitamin K.
Devour the papaya flesh when it is ripe and juicy by simply eating as is or
-scoop out the seeds and add more fruit to the center allowing it to be a fruit salad bowl -chop it up and add coconut yogurt and granola
-dice it up into a papaya salsa
-or make a papaya sorbet!
And don't forget to save the seeds! I like to eat a teaspoon of the seeds daily when I have fresh papaya around as I like their peppery taste and it helps my digestion. You can also use all the seeds from one papaya in a creamy papaya seed dressing to be used on salads or even steamed veggies.
Here is a recipe I created...
PAPAYA SEED DRESSING (makes about 1/2 cup)
1/2 inch piece of fresh peeled ginger
1 Tablespoon sweet onion
1/2 of a papaya's seeds
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/4 cup water
1 Tablespoon lemon juice
1 teaspoon sugar or agave
5 mint leaves
splash of chardonnay vinegar (optional)
salt to taste
Optional for non vegans, add 1/4 cup plain yogurt to make it creamier
Put all in a blender and blend until seeds look like pepper flecks. Cover and refrigerate or serve immediately on a gigantic salad!
Remember, in cooking you can be creative, so play with this recipe and try out new combinations. Add lime or orange juice instead of lemon, or use raspberry vinegar instead. Many recipes for the dressing called for mustard and tarragon, which I did not have on hand, but plan on trying another time.
Now go grab a papaya or any other favorite tropical fruit, close your eyes, place the juicy flesh into your mouth and envision yourself in Hawaii, Thailand, Costa Rica or another exotic place just to make your spirit feel good!
This blog is an exploration of life, love, adventure and art primarily through the medium of food.