The start of spring marks the best time to get your paws on some Australian papaya and papaw, with a record breaking supply of great tasting new season produce expected thanks to above average growing conditions.
These two exotic fruits are easy to distinguish – red papaya is often pear-shaped, has orange to red flesh and a sweet flavour, whereas yellow papaw is more cylindrical and rounder, with yellow flesh and a
less sweet flavour.
Gerard Kath, Papaya Australia President, says, “We’ve got great quality spring produce thanks to minimal rain, warm and dry temperatures, and generally favourable papaya and papaw growing weather. The
last two winters have been mild for us, so we’re set for the heaviest spring crop on record.”
In addition to their delicious and unique flavour, both fruits have outstanding health benefits, according to Accredited Practising Dietitian Caitlin Reid.
“From assisting the immune system to digestive wellbeing to being a great choice during pregnancy, papaya and papaw are a great health all-rounder,” said Ms Reid.
Both papaya and papaw pack a nutritious punch. They:
- Contain a unique combination of antioxidants that can keep your immune system healthy;
- Contain soluble and insoluble fibre, necessary for digestive wellbeing;
- Are suitable before, during and after pregnancy thanks to high vitamin C and folate content, essential nutrients that help promote baby’s growth and development;
- Are low in energy and fat, making them a great choice for weight loss diets;
- Contain a bundle of skin-protective nutrients; and
- Are an excellent source of vitamin C and vitamin A as well as providing nearly three times as much fibre as 1/2 a cup brown rice per serve.
Caitlin Reid’s Top Papaya & Papaw Tips:
- To choose a ripe papaya or papaw, lightly press underneath the stem and it will give to the pressure.
- Papaya and papaw are fragile – a few dark spots or blemishes on the skin are normal and the fruit will still be great quality.
- Ripen papaya and papaw in the fruit bowl and then store in the fridge and enjoy within two days.
- To get the best taste, remove from the fridge and let it sit for around 5 minutes before enjoying!
- To speed up the ripening process, you can also place in a paper bag with a banana.
- Papaya and papaw are packed with flavour and highly versatile, pairing well with coconut, passionfruit, seafood, salads, curries, pork, chicken, lime, lemon, mango, pineapple, ginger, kiwi, banana and berries.
Get creative with these tasty ideas:
- For a peppery substitute, don’t toss the papaya seeds, grind them and use in place of pepper.
- Poach papaya and cranberries in a syrup of lime juice, cinnamon, star anise, sugar and water for a citrusy dessert.
- Whip up a spicy papaya/papaw salsa by combining it with red onion, coriander, lime juice and red chilli. Perfect for BBQ weather!
- Australian papaya and papaw have peak seasons in spring and autumn but are available all year round.