Which fruit grows on a tall, palm-like tree but has soft rind and bright orange flesh? You’re right; we’re talking about papayas. Consumed both raw and ripe, these tropical fruits have so much to offer us. Papaya is a good source of Vitamin A, which helps keep your eyes healthy. It also has antioxidants, which can help protect your body from disease.
Today, we’ll take you to explore some interesting facts about Papaya that you’d never have known. Ready for some adventure? Let’s begin!
1. Papaya is a kind of berry
A berry is defined as a fruit with a soft rind, fleshy pulp, and many seeds. Does that sound at all familiar to you? You guessed it right! Papayas are a berry.
2. Papaya is endemic to tropical America
Papayas and America go way, way back. These tropical fruits are believed to have been first domesticated in tropical America (Mexico and Central America) and are, therefore, endemic to it.
3. Papain, an enzyme present in Papaya, has many medicinal uses
Raw papayas have a white, sticky liquid present inside them, called papain. This liquid enzyme is actually a protease (breaks down proteins) with abilities to heal wounds and fight infection.
While there’s very little scientific evidence to back it up, people often use papain on jellyfish stings, sore throat, shingles, parasitic infections, and dental cavities.
4. Papain is also used in making chewing gums!
Not all uses of papain are medicinal. These enzymes are also used in the manufacturing process of chewing gums.
5. Papayas have no season
One of the best things about papayas is that these fruits don’t have a particular season but are grown all year round!
6. Papayas are a storehouse of Vitamin C
Do you know how much Vitamin C our bodies need on a daily basis? It is 90 milligrams for men and 75 milligrams for women on average. By these standards, one large Papaya alone can meet our Vitamin C requirements for three days!
7. The seeds of papayas are edible as well
When you eat Papaya, what do you do with the seeds found inside? We’re assuming you throw it away, just like the rest of us.
However, did you know that these seeds are actually edible? These seeds are not just edible but also have a high nutritional value and are rich in antioxidants. Think about that the next time you eat these fruits!
8. Papaya is the national fruit of Malaysia
Known for its iconic Petronas Towers, Malaysia has declared papayas to be the national fruit of their country.
9. The Australians refer to papayas as pawpaw
Doesn’t pawpaw sound more like the name of a pet dog or cat to you? Well, the Australians certainly don’t feel that way, for they’ve given this name to papayas!
Many other countries have given these fruits their own unique names as well. The Brazilians call them mamao, the Cubans call them bomb-fruit, and the Indians call them papita.
10. Papaya acts as a natural meat tenderizer
Papayas, both in their raw as well as ripe form, can act as a natural meat tenderizer. This is because the enzymes of these fruits help in breaking down the collagen of the meat.
To use these fruits as a meat tenderizer, all you need to do is remove their peels and seeds, blend the inner flesh, apply its puree to the meat, and refrigerate it for a couple of hours. Scrape the puree off the meat when you take it out, and your tender meat is ready!
11. Christopher Columbus called papayas the fruit of the angels
Commonly regarded as the discoverer of America, Christopher Columbus was quite mesmerized by the tropical taste of papayas. The explorer admired these fruits so much that he called them the fruit of the angels.
12. Raw papayas are used in the Caribbean, Thai, and Indian cuisines
We’re sure you’ve enjoyed the sweetness of ripe papayas many times, but do you know that these fruits hold a lot of appeal in their raw form as well?
This might come as a surprise to you, but in their raw form, papayas are used as vegetables in various dishes in the Caribbean, Thai, and Indian cuisines.
13. India is the leading papaya-producing country in the world
According to the data produced by the FAOSTAT in 2020, India is leading as the largest papaya-producing country in the world. Its total papaya production for the year made up 43% of the global papaya production that year.
The counties that closely follow India in papaya production are the Dominican Republic, Brazil, and Mexico.
14. Hawaii is the leading producer of papayas in the United States
Within the United States of America, Hawaii leads as the largest producer of commercially grown papayas. The island of Hawaii, where 95% of the papayas grow, is referred to as the big island. These papaya trees here bear fruits all year long. California, Florida, and Texas follow Hawaii in the production of papayas.
15. Papaya comes from branchless trees!
Just as palm trees have no branches but a long, spare bark, the papaya trees are the same. Although most of their bark is empty, both their fruits and leaves are clustered together at the top.
16. The bark of the Papaya tree is used to make ropes
It seems like every part of a papaya tree has utility for us! The fibers present in the bark of papaya trees are surprisingly strong and are, therefore, used to make ropes.
Although ropes are the main by-product of papaya tree barks, their fibers can also be used in making fishnets and baskets. The natives of Central America have been using them for a long time!
17. In some Asian countries, the leaves of papaya plants are consumed as well
Much like papayas themselves, the leaves of their trees are also rich in various nutrients and antioxidants. For these reasons, the extract of papaya leaves is believed to fight diseases like malaria and dengue fever. In fact, in some parts of Asia, people also drink Papaya leaves tea for their medicinal benefits.
18. September is celebrated as National Papaya Month
For fruits that are as special as the papayas, a one-day celebration isn’t enough. Therefore, the entire month of September is celebrated as National Papaya Month. In some areas, these fruits are celebrated in June as well. However, September remains the more widely accepted month.
The bottom line
With this, we’ve reached the end of our article. Today, we delved deeper into the history of papayas and learned about what else the Papaya plant has to offer us other than the fruits. We learned that eating Papaya can be very beneficial to you because it can aid in digestion, help with weight loss, support eye health, boost your immune system and prevent various kinds of diseases.
Thanks for reading! We hope you enjoyed reading it. The more you learn about papayas, the more you’ll want to consume them — and we hope our facts helped get you there! If you liked it, feel free to share it with your friends and family via social media.
Have a wonderful day!