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National Papaya Month!

June is here and it is National Papaya Month. Here are some fun facts about this wonderful fruit:

  • The papaya is native to southern Mexico and neighboring Central America.
  • There are two main types of papaya: Hawaiian, and Mexican.
  • Hawaiian papayas are pear-shaped, and the flesh is bright orange or pinkish, depending on the variety.
  • Mexican papayas are much larger than those from Hawaii, and their flesh may be yellow, orange or pink.
  • The papaya tree grows fast, and can bear fruit within six to twelve months.
  • India produces 45% of the world’s papayas, followed by Brazil, Mexico, Dominican Republic and Indonesia.
  • In the U.S., papaya production is concentrated in Hawaii. Other areas of cultivation include California, Florida and Texas.
  • Papaya is the only fruit that contains papain. This is an enzyme that has the ability to digest protein.
  • Papain has been used as a meat tenderizer for thousands of years, and is still found in many of today’s meat tenderizing products.
  • The seeds of a papaya can be ground up and used as a substitute for black pepper.
  • Papayas are high in fiber, and loaded with Vitamin C and A.
  • You’ve heard people say that carrots are good for your eyes, but studies show the beta-carotene in papayas is three-times easier to absorb than the beta carotene in carrots or tomatoes.

I love papayas and all of this talk about them is making me hungry. How about us having a shrimp-stuffed papaya for lunch, today? That “do” sound good!