Papaya is believed to originate from Mexico where it is also called tree melon or angle fruit. Today papaya is cultivated all through out tropical regions. Papayas were first mentioned in the diaries of Columbus. The papayas in the pictures on this page are from Brazil.
The skin is at first green then turning yellow and orange as the Papaya matures. The meat is yellow/orange and inside there are many small black pits. The taste is difficult to define since there are many varieties today but a cross between banana and mango is quite descriptive. Most common varieties today are the Golden, Solo and exotica.
Papaya can be used as a substitute for melon. A slice of papaya can with luck be used with a thin slice of air dried ham. The faint details in the papaya taste can be enhanced with a few drops of lime juice.
The papaya meat is very soft and juicy and is suitable for juicing, or in smoothies. Papaya meat can also be used in salads, marmalades and as garnish for deserts. In Asia, green not ripe papaya is used as a vegetable both in salads and boiled. Unripe papaya contains papain, which is known for its enzymes that can mature meat.
Papaya should be kept chilled at around 10 deg. The shelf life is 8-10 days. At room temperature a mature papaya has a shelf life of 3-4 days. Most fruits are harvested very green and will only mature upon arrival in Europe.