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Hawaiian papaya is encased in a gleaming sunny yellow skin when ripened to perfection. This scrumptious fruit is ripe when mostly yellow and soft to the touch. The pulp is a matching creamy yellow, delicately scented, and deliciously sweet. A mass of black seeds is encased in a gelatinous coating in the center. Often discarded, the seeds are edible. Crunchy and peppery, crushed seeds can be used as a mildly spicy condiment.
Hawaiian papaya are available the year-round.
At least eight other species of the genus Carica bear edible fruits. These include C. candamarcensis, the mountain papaya of the Andes and the babaco, C. pentagona.
Slightly lacking in acidity, a squeeze of lime juice enhances this fruit's addicting flavor. Most commonly enjoyed fresh, papaya can be pureed or baked as well. Papaya can also be used to soften and tenderize thick meats such as roast beef or t-bones; spread mashed papaya over the meat and refrigerate about two hours before cooking. To store, refrigerate when ripe only. Use within a day or two or flavor will diminish.
Native to the lowlands of eastern Central America, Portuguese and Spanish explorers fell in love with this special fruit and introduced it to other settlements in the East and West Indies where its Carib name "ababai" became "papaya". Taken to the Pacific islands, papaya was grown in tropical regions by 1800. Today Hawaii is a main exporter. Virtually all papayas consumed in the United States come from Hawaii. More than 95 percent of Hawaii's papayas are grown in the rich volcanic soil of the eastern end of the island of Hawaii.
Recipes that include Hawaiian Papaya. One is easiest, three is harder.
People have spotted Hawaiian Papaya using the Specialty Produce app for iPhone and Android.
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