It began as an unplanned surprise gift that came out of a compost pile. It went from “what is that?” to blessing me with an incredible amount of fruit. In fact, there was so many that I couldn’t keep up with the bounty. I had a dilemma! I began giving away papaya. At least, I tried. I’m pretty sure my take on papaya being wonderful is not shared by everyone. It’s an acquired taste for sub-tropical and tropical tastebuds only! There were not many takers. I admit I left a couple on a neighbor’s doorstep when they weren’t home! What was I going to do with all that papaya?
The Papaya Story
My compost pile sprouts all kinds of volunteer plants. Most of the plants that come up are very healthy veggie plants so I usually transplant them to another area of the garden. One day, I noticed a fairly large something that had come up. It was different from everything else I had seen sprout from a compost pile. I couldn’t believe what I thought it was because I only ate papaya a couple of times a year. I also was not interested in growing a papaya tree, so I would throw the seeds in the garbage, not the compost bin. But, there it was, growing beautifully. I must have missed a few papaya seeds and they ended up in the compost pile. Well, there it was, growing in all its glory. I decided to leave it there and told it, “Ok, you want the compost pile? You can have it. I’ll start another one.”
Papaya Trees are amazing!
After six months, it was about 8 feet tall and it was blooming with small, but gorgeous flowers. In six more months, it was 12 feet tall (if you include the leafy canopy) and loaded with fruit, blessing me with at least one papaya every week. Fresh, tree-ripened papaya does not compare with the funky smelling papaya you buy in the grocery store. These are very sweet, very juicy, and they have a mild, sunshiney flavor.
Papayas truly are a wonderful fruit.
Papayas are low in calories and high in nutrition. I am a firm believer that if you eat the food that grows naturally in your area, that food has the nutrition you need for that environment. Papayas are loaded with vitamin C and A, both are needful in fighting infections and illness that could be lurking in the sub-tropics where I live. Besides, those vitamins build great skin too.
Some people say papaya has a weird smell. I agree-if it was picked green to withstand shipping. It simply did not have a chance for the sweetness to bloom. But, I have to admit, it is definitely different, a tropical smell for sure. However, tree-ripened papaya is sweet and mild. That funky smell is almost non-existent. Freeze it into chunks and the sweetness increases.
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How to Freeze Papaya
Peel and cut the papaya in half. Scoop out the seeds and any fibers around the seedbed. Slice the papaya lengthwise. Then each slice can be cut crosswise into cube(ish) pieces. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper. Spread the cubed papaya onto the parchment paper and slide the whole tray into the freezer. Once the pieces are frozen, you can transfer the pieces into a freezer bag or freezer container. Any time you want a little something sweet, grab a couple of pieces of this amazingly good for you sunshine fruit. Your sweet tooth will be satisfied without the risk of empty calories. By the way, did I mention that it is low in calories? One cup is only about 50 calories.
If you love smoothies, you are going to love this recipe.
Tropical Papaya Smoothie
The wonderful, tropical papaya smoothie has some unique ingredients that are worth shopping for.
- 1 cup of frozen papaya chunks
- 1 cup of frozen papaya chunks
- ½ tsp vanilla
- 1 tsp coconut extract
- ⅓ cup Vanilla Oh So DeliciousCoconut Creamer
- ¼ cup vanilla greek yogurt or more to taste
- Coconut Milk to “fill the void”
Any smoothie making machine will work. I currently have a Ninja.
Fill the smoothie cup with the fruit first. Add the extracts. Add the Creamer and yogurt. Finally, add enough Coconut Milk to fill the space until it reaches the top of the fruit. Add the top with the blades and process. You may have to shake it halfway. This makes a thick smoothie-it can be eaten with a spoon. Just add more coconut milk for a smoothie that is straw worthy.
Wonderful Papaya Smoothie is satisfying and stays with you.
I make this smoothie as the last thing I do before I leave to go to work. As it “melts”, the straw works perfectly. This breakfast lasts me all morning. I love that it has few calories and a generous amount of protein.
I bet that, by this time next year, I will want a papaya smoothie made from home-grown organic papaya. Maybe I’ll start another papaya tree. This time, on purpose!
“But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be provided for you. – Mat 6:33 CSB