Spring is the in the air! And while papaya is a fruit you will pretty much find all year round, it is during this season (and summer) when it is most plentiful and super sweet.
They are more than just their delicious flavor though, papayas. They are touted to be one of the most power-packed of fruits, health-wise, and this perhaps explains why they have grown in popularity over the last couple of years. No part of this humble fruit goes to waste – ripe or not – including the leaves and seeds.
And the beauty of it is that there are a bunch of ways you can add it to your repertoire this spring without the risk of getting blasé.
Ingredients: 2 papayas | 1 cup yogurt | fresh strawberries (1 cup) | raisins (¼ cup) | walnuts (¼ cup) | 2 tablespoons honey
This recipe is a cool breeze to make.
Peel, seed and cut your papayas into half lengthwise.
Scrape the flesh just enough as to create a small well in the middle. Mix the yogurt, chopped strawberries, walnuts and raisins in a bowl, then fill each half with this blend. Sprinkle some honey (or maple syrup) on top and voila!
Please note that papaya boats can be made using different ingredients. You can get as creative as you want with your favorite ingredients.
Ingredients: 1 papaya | 1 banana | fresh strawberries (½ cup) | 1/3 cup milk | ice cubes
There are a million and one ways to make a papaya smoothie (Check out some recipes here). The reason we are mad about this combo is that you don’t have to go out of your way to source the ingredients – they are readily available in spite of location. Better yet, these ingredients make for a super healthy drink which doubles up as a powerful detox agent.
To prepare this smoothie, first, wash your fruits. Then peel the papaya and banana (and seed the former) before dicing them up. Add all the fruits to the blender along with the milk and ice cubes. Blend until smooth and see what comes out of it!
Some people like to add sugar for extra sweetness. This though is a surefire way to stifle the health aspect of the drink. Best served as is, and if you really must add a sweetener, try some honey instead.
Ingredients: 1 papaya | 1 mango | 1 avocado | 1 bell pepper | fresh cilantro | ½ sweet onion | balsamic vinegar | salt and pepper to taste
If you don’t fancy fruit salsas, it’s probably because you haven’t come across a good twist just yet. Until this.
It’s incredibly simple to prepare. Start by peeling, seeding and dicing the fruit, along with the bell pepper and sweet onion. A medium bowl should hold it nicely. Next, add two spoons of chopped cilantro (aka coriander – should be fresh) followed up by two tablespoons of balsamic vinegar and some salt and pepper to taste.
One of the first things you’ll notice with this addictive mango papaya fruit salsa is the lack of that extra fluidness you encounter with other fruit which can be off-putting for some. Mango, papaya, and avocado are not such watery fruit – at least when compared with the likes of pineapple and watermelon.
The end product is a deliciously good salsa which goes well with just about anything: as a snack, as an appetizer, or mixing into salads. It’s also amazing on fish tacos and makes for a great side dish for rice and chicken.
Ingredients: 2 small ripe papayas | 15 cashew nuts | 1 tablespoon chia seeds | 4 fresh dates (pitted) | ¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon |pinch of salt [Serves 4]
That’s right. If at any one time you find yourself in the hunt for dessert ideas, a papaya mousse recipe is a brilliant idea. And not just any idea – a quick, super nutritious dessert idea that almost requires no effort.
The cashew nuts need to be prepared beforehand by soaking them in hot water for 15 minutes.
Assuming your papayas are peeled, seeded and sliced, take all the ingredients and put them in a blender. Blend until smooth and consistent – you can add a few teaspoons of water (or nut milk) if need be.
Pour the sweet-smelling papaya mousse into serving bowls and refrigerate until chilled (or serve as is). Add your choice of toppings – lime zest, almond slices, pistachio nuts and pomegranate seeds all make for wonderful choices.
The presentation will take care of itself, believe it or not, so this should be an added bonus if that’s not one of your strong suits!
Ingredients: 3-4 mashed papaya (about 2 cups)| 2 cups water | ¾ sugar | 2 tablespoons lemon juice
There is nothing as refreshing on a warm day than a fresh fruit sorbet. And a luscious papaya sorbet is a recipe that just never gets old!
To prepare this sorbet, mix the water and sugar in a saucepan and bring to a boil over high heat. Stir constantly for about 4 minutes until the sugar is completely dissolved and the mixture turns into a syrup. Next, remove from heat and stir in the papaya and lemon juice.
Pour this syrup into a bowl and cool to room temperature, before placing it into the refrigerator until cold. Then, pour this mixture into an ice cream maker canister and freeze as instructed by the manufacturer.
The sorbet should be ready for serving. If you need it a little firmer, spoon the mixture into a shallow baking dish and return to the freezer.
As you can see, papaya is an amazingly versatile fruit which you can enjoy in different ways. Eat it ripe, eat it green, blend it to a smoothie, grill it, cut it up in salads, pair it with meats or sea fare, use it in curries, make desserts out of it – whatever tickles your fancy!
Best of all, it is packed with natural goodness and makes for a great choice as a healthy snack or nutritious part of any meal during the warmer months.
What papaya recipes are you looking to try out this spring?