Papaya, native to Central America and Mexico but it is now a very common fruit grown in most of the tropical and subtropical countries. Some countries called it ‘pawpaw’ but do not be confused with another unrelated species of fruit that goes by this actual name too.
Papaya is green when young and will turn yellowish-orange when ripe while its flesh is yellow, orange or red, depending on the various cultivars. Some varieties can grow to an enormous size (above 4kg/10 lbs), especially those from the South America origins. There are numerous small black seeds clustered in the center. It is edible and tastes spicy, similar to black pepper but it is usually not well appreciated.
There are several cultivars of papayas. Some are in dwarf sizes but are usually slightly sweeter than those huge giants. Papaya can also be eaten when it is still in its unripe green stage but it is usually used mainly in Indian cooking or Thai salad. Green papaya is rich in papain, an enzyme which is great for colon cleansing and digestive problems.