Papaya, fruit of the angels

Christopher Columbus called them “the fruit of the angels,” and it’s easy to understand why!

The Mexican papayas are usually a lot larger than the ones from Hawaii, and they’re much easier to find at my usual markets.  I bought one last night at Sprouts that was huge, and I immediately made room in the fridge for it so that it would be nice and cold today when I would be ready to eat some of it and store the rest.

papaya3Mexican papayas are long and fat, and usually green and yellow.  This one was priced at 50 cents/lb and cost a little over $3.00.  Like I said, it was huge!

The seeds are a little disappointing because, deceivingly, they look so delicious.  However, they are peppery tasting, and can even be used as you would use black pepper when dried and crushed.

Papayas are so much easier to trim and cut into pieces, and there are numerous ways I’ve seen them eaten.  When I was at the big Farmers Market in Dallas a few years ago, they were cutting them in wedges and handing them out as samples, and everyone was eating them directly from the peel.  They provided large bins and paper towels aplenty for the discards.  i remember it well because it was a very hot day, and these were so delicious.

I cut mine longways down the center, scoop the seeds out, and then cut them in cross sections, peeling each cut and chunking them as I go along, and eating quite a few chunks as my reward!  They are impossible to resist!

papaya1

This one was large enough that, even after all the grazing I did while I was cutting and chunking, I saved a large portion in a glass jar to be eaten over the next couple of days.  There were so many pieces left that I could freeze the rest in my Snapware bowl to have with my breakfast smoothies in the mornings, probably enough to have 3 to 5 smoothies.

papaya2

For great nutritional information, as well as the Christopher Columbus quote above, see George Mateljan’s site.
For an excellent site on the how-to’s of cutting and preparing papays, see this papaya fan’s website (Cocinerita).

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Favorite meal of the day…fresh pineapple for breakfast

Absolutely yum — pineapples!

Pineapple slices and chunks

For too long I avoided the mess of trimming a pineapple and settled for canned or jarred pineapples from the produce section of the grocery store.  Lately, I’ve changed my attitude about food prep entirely.  I trim my pineapples by slicing them, as pictured here.  Then, I trim the outer layer away from the tasty inside part.  If I want only a slice or two, I place some plastic wrap around the bottom (exposed) portion, and place it back in the fridge for later.  I don’t have to cut the whole thing at once.  For me, convenience is the key.

Benefits of eating whole fruits and vegetables

Instead of settling for less taste and compromising freshness, I’ve made a habit of buying more fruits and vegetables whole and then doing the slicing, chopping, peeling myself.  The benefits of eating this way are tremendous:

  • higher nutrient value as the fruits and vegetables retain their natural qualities until they are consumed
  • you don’t pay for packaging
  • the peels and scraps can be used in your compost if you are organic gardener
  • you are at least one level nearer the actual producer when the processing is taken out of the picture, and this helps eliminate some of the mysteries of processing
  • the color is richer and deeper; appetite for healthier foods becomes stronger
  • flavor, flavor, flavor

I can store two or three at a time in my fridge, so I really look for the two-fer specials at the grocery store.   I love a slice of pineapple in a bowl with strawberries, blueberries, and orange slices for breakfast.  It’s my favorite meal of the day!

KIKU Apples…possibly a new favorite

Wow!  Quite by accident last night, I knocked an apple off of a display at the produce counter.  Not wanting to leave it there with a likely bruise for some unknowing consumer after me, karma being what it is, I decided to buy it.  It was huge, a full pound in weight.

When I buy apples, I usually buy small ones, and they are usually New Zealand Galas.  Seasonally, I enjoy the occasional Honey Crisp, though they are very large, about the same size as the Kiku.  Honey Crisps have a delicious, sweet flavor and are filled with juice.  The Kiku is very similar, maybe not as sweet, but very delicious and crisp.

Not being a connoisseur of apples, per se, it’s always good to know what kind to look for, or knock one off on the floor and try your luck!

See this: Cultivation – KIKU.

Cara Cara oranges…yum!

I’ve become a big fan of Cara Cara oranges of late.  This red-meated orange is amazingly sweet and juicy and lower in acid than others.  According to the wikipedia entry, it is an early season orange, available from California from November through April.

I’ve been finding these in the Dallas market at Central Market, Whole Foods, and Market Street.  My local Tom Thumb/Safeway isn’t carrying them…maybe next year.

For breakfast tomorrow, I think I’ll try a bowl of Cara Cara orange slices, some fresh blueberries, and a couple of leaves of mint, maybe even making them into a smoothie with some soy milk.  I’ll let you know how it goes.

(image borrowed from Apples and Onions)