Papaya tree

2016 CSA Spring May 21st Papaya

2016 CSA Spring May 21st

  • Spinach
  • Squash Blossoms
  • Kale Flowers
  • Peppermint
  • Spearmint
  • Spring Onions
  • Green garlic
  • Oregano
  • Sage
  • Lemon Verbena
  • Papaya
  • Basil


Papaya cut

Papaya cut

A very rare and special treat this week: papayas! This tropical fruit is grown in one of our greenhouses and is one of the first of papayas grown in Virginia. Papayas are known for being a healthy food and for containing unique digestive enzymes that help the body process proteins. Papayas contain vitamins C, A, E, K, several of the B vitamins and many minerals such as magnesium, calcium and potassium. As an excellent source of these nutrients, papaya can be helpful to our health in prevention of atherosclerosis and diabetic heart disease. Being a good source of fiber, papaya can help lower high cholesterol levels and may be beneficial in prevention of colon cancer. Immune support and anti-inflammatory effects can assist in cases of asthma and arthritis.  Papayas are well known for containing papain, a digestive enzyme which is extracted for making supplements.

The simplest way to enjoy the slightly sweet and musky flavor of the creamy flesh is to cut your papaya in half and clean out the insides of any seeds or coating, then scoop out bites with a spoon. The half can also be cut into slices like a cantaloupe. If cubing for a salad, salsa, roast or smoothie, then remove the outer skin before use in your recipe.

Recipes ranged from simple to intricate with suggestions to pair with lime juice and/or mint being common, as well as ideas for salads, salsas and chutney. One salsa recipe was simply chopped onion, lemon juice, chopped papaya, diced mint and seasoning of salt and pepper. Often paired with meats like fish and chicken, it was sometimes featured in a chicken stir fry or elegantly sliced atop a filet of fish. Consider a complementary papaya salsa this week taking advantage of the onion and mint in your CSA share.

To your health and pleasure!