Sweet Sunrise: Because Kumu Farms harvests fewer papayas than other farms and throws away fewer fruit, it sends more irregular fruit (less symmetrical, or with slight abrasions that don’t affect flavor or texture) to market. “When consumers are willing to buy fruit that’s not as pretty, but tastes just as good, it helps the local farmers,” says Grant. Such customer flexibility allows farmers to sell more—and waste less.
For Your Health and Beauty: There’s more reason than taste to go pupule for papaya! Low in calories and cholesterol-free, papayas are packed with minerals, vitamins and dietary fiber. They’re well-known to help digestion and have been touted as stomach-soothing, anti-inflammatory, anti-parasitic and immunity boosting. Papayas are also full of enzymes, making them useful as a beauty treatment to brighten and exfoliate skin.
Perfect Pick: “You want to pick one that has some color,” advises Grant. “It takes about seven days to go from the first color break to full ripeness. Never refrigerate them unless they’re fully ripe,” he cautions. “But if you’ve bought one that ripens before you’re ready to eat it, then it’s okay to store it in the refrigerator.”
Go Green: Grant’s favorite papaya dish is Vietnamese-style green papaya salad. Unripe papaya can be prepared in a manner similar to squash and eaten in a variety of dishes ranging from cold salads made from the shredded flesh to savory, comforting stews. Try marinating tough stew beef with some chopped green papaya — seeds and all — and you’ll see what a great tenderizer it can be.
Sow the Seeds: Papaya seeds resemble peppercorns and are edible. They can be ground and used as a substitute for black pepper, and will add a sharp, peppery taste to foods. Try them in our Papaya Seed Dressing recipe!