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.
Mexican 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!
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.
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).