Tropical Fruit Growers South Florida; we’re an association of farmers that specialize in growing tropical fruits here in The Redlands, an agricultural area southwest of Miami, Florida. Now, you can go to the supermarket and find some Papayas like these or you can go to our website tropicalfruitgrowers.com and look at our list of growers.
Right now we’re in a Papaya grove, look at these guys. Papaya is said to be native to Central America but they grow very well here in South Florida and in other tropical and subtropical regions all around the world.
There are 2 kinds of Papayas; there’s the big one, they get to be about 15 inches and about 10 pounds; then there’s the small pear-shaped one that gets about a pound. They both have a very sweet flavor reminiscent of melon.
Papaya growers plant their Papaya trees and get a crop all year round, but the heavy crops starts in, say, summer through fall. These Papaya trees are good for about 2 years; at the end of the 2 years these will no longer give fruit, so the growers cut them down and plant some new ones that usually start producing fruit within a year. Papayas grow really close to the stem and they grow in a spirally fashion as the tree grows. Papayas start out as a flower then develop into a small fruit and as time goes by they get about this big. The farmer knows when to pick it because it starts to blush yellow and that’s an indicator that the fruit is going to ripen and get that sweet flavor that we all love. If you pick it green it’s ok, you can use it for cold dishes like Asian salads. So let’s go to the kitchen and cut one of these Papayas open.
We’re back from the grove and we’re in the kitchen, as you can see we have some green Papayas and some mature Papayas which will be ready either tomorrow or the day after. If you purchase from one of our growers listed on the website you’ll be receiving high quality Papayas. If you go to the market you’ve got to be very weary and careful that they don’t have any bruises, lacerations or cracks. And another thing, don’t even bother to smell them because really they don’t have much of an aroma from the skin.
Now how do you eat the Papaya? Eating green Papayas is much different from eating ripe Papayas. Green Papayas are peeled like an apple, diced up into cubes and made into a preserve; we boil it in water and sugar. Asians like to use it as like coleslaw or even pickled. I’m cutting this open and as I do that I notice all this white latex kind of milk which is the papaya enzyme, which is used as meat tenderizer. What you can do is cut a cube and throw it in there with the meat, you can marinate overnight and it’ll tenderize it a lot, believe me.
To get the most nutritional value from a Papaya you’ve got to eat it when it’s ripe, kind of like this one right here. Now, how do you eat this Papaya? It’s very easy, you just get a knife, stab it in there and you go all around the fruit and open it up. Inside it’s bright orange and has a lot of black seeds, for now we just discard the seeds like this, you get yourself a little spoon and you just put all the seeds inside this little bowl like so. If you want you can cut the fruit in long slices like so and eat it like a watermelon or a cantaloupe. You get your spoon and spoon it up, like so. It’s very sweet and it has a hint of tropical fruit flavor that you can only get at tropicalfruitgrowers.com. You can also use it in a fruit cocktail, you can just cut it into little cubes like so and put them into your fruit cocktail. The seeds are kind of peppery, they’re very good and edible, they can be used in dressings, you put them in the blender and use it with your favorite dressing.
If you want to store you’re Papaya all you’ve got to do is wrap it up like this, put it in the refrigerator and it should last you about 2 or 3 days. If you want to put the whole fruit and store it, make sure it’s not green, make sure it’s ripe like this; you put it in the refrigerator, in the coldest part, and it should last you about 2 or 3 weeks before you open it up.
Papayas have a lot of uses, they can be made into ice-cream, sorbets, yogurt, you can make coleslaw and a lot other stuff. If you want to know how to do that go to our website tropicalfruitgrowers.com and look at our recipes and our list of growers so you can order some of your Papayas. So remember tropicalfruitgrowers.com.