I was never really the kind of person that experimented with food or new ingredients. I never really had the time, to be honest. My teacher/principal days left me very little opportunity to think about anything else, hence part of the reason for needing to move on.
Since making that move, though, I’ve been increasingly inspired to give everything a go…ok, well not EVERYTHING per se but a lot more things! I have especially been eager to work with fruit and veg that I don’t regularly cook or eat. So every so often, I’ll eagerly go on a ‘hunt’ for something new or different.
This time round it’s PAPAYA!
I have spent the last few days experimenting with the tropical Papaya, one fruit that, I reckon, doesn’t get the attention it deserves. Well, not sure about you, but not so much in my world. I do love tropical fruits and so does the rest of the family, so not sure why I haven’t been including it in my regular fruit n veg haul!
Although Papaya (and it’s close relative Pawpaw) are native to Mexico and Central America, Australian grown papaya is available all year round. It’s mainly grown in the warmer tropical climates of Far North Queensland and (I bet you didn’t know) is at it’s peak this time of the year!*
There are two varieties that you can look out for, the Red Papaya & the Yellow Pawpaw. The Red Papaya is pear shaped with green/yellow coloured skin. The flesh is bright orange with a sweet flavour and soft, buttery consistency. On the other hand, the Yellow Pawpaw is rounder and larger with pale orange skin, a noticeable yellow flesh and less sweeter in flavour than the Red Papaya.
You can certainly eat the papaya fresh, seeds removed and scooping it’s soft flesh straight off it’s skin. Or it would be perfect in a fresh fruit salad or cut into slices on a platter. I decided I’d try a few other ways to eat it not only as a snack but also as a meal for breakfast, lunch or even dinner.
One of our favourite things to make for breakfast, and one of the quickest, has to be smoothies and smoothie bowls. So naturally I began by incorporating it into some of our usual recipes. Below is a recipe for Papaya & Berry Smoothie Bowl that we all LOVED! The soft flesh of the papaya is actually perfect for blending and a quick and certain way to reap it’s health benefits. I didn’t even realise that this exotic fruit is loaded with essential nutrients, including vitamins A and C, potassium and folate, which is a necessary vitamin for expecting mothers. Something I wish I knew throughout my pregnancies! If I did, I certainly would have eaten a whole lot more of it!
I tried this same smoothie bowl recipe on another morning, omitted the berries and used pawpaw instead. You get a smoothie that’s not as thick and a lot easier to drink out of a cup. Give it a go, it’s actually really yummy!
Another great way to have the papaya is grilling. Although I’m not usually a fan of cooking fruits (my preference is eating them fresh), I do love them grilled. There’s something about placing fruit on a hot grill, whether it’s a bbq or a griddle pan. It transforms and intensifies the natural sweetness and flavour of the fruit. I do this often with pineapple and have done so with peaches too, so thought I’d give it a go with the papaya. AND it worked a treat! We had the Grilled Papaya on French toast with a dollop of mascarpone and drizzle of maple syrup. You’ll find that recipe below!
As for dinner (or I guess this could be lunch), I was drawn to a recipe that I came across on the Australian Papaya website for Salmon & Papaya Salsa. Salmon is probably my favourite type of fish to eat and I love a good salsa made from fresh ingredients. Both paired together on a bed of rice was a great combination, especially with a good squeeze of lime. I could see this salsa would be perfect teamed up with other types of fish or even with prawns which I’m keen to try next time.
Papaya & Berry Smoothie Bowl
1 1/4 cups fresh papaya
1 cup mixed frozen berries
1 frozen banana
1/2 cup plain yoghurt
1 tablespoon maple syrup
1 tablespoon chia seeds
2 – 3 tablespoons muesli
- In a blender start by blending the frozen banana & frozen berries. Add the papaya, yoghurt, syrup & chia seeds. Blend some more until smooth.
Serve smoothie immediately, topped with your favourite muesli, more fruits and chia seeds.
2 slices (approx. 200g) Papaya (seeds removed)
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1 tablespoon butter
- Use a microwave or small saucepan to melt butter. Add brown sugar & stir to combine.
- Brush butter & sugar mixture on all sides of the sliced papaya.
- Heat a bbq/grill/griddle pan. Place papaya on hot grill until charred on both sides.
Serve grilled papaya still warm on top of French toast or a scoop of vanilla ice cream.
Salmon & Papaya Salsa
You’ll find the full recipe at the Australian Papaya website here.
So there you go, papaya two or three or more ways.
Experiment with it yourself. After finding a few different ways to cook, eat and serve it this week I’m sure I will be on a more regular basis. I hope you give these recipes a go, if you do please let me know what you think!
*This post is in collaboration with and sponsored by Australian Papaya. Opinions expressed are my own and not influenced in any way. You can learn more about Papaya, it’s health benefits and more recipe ideas at australianpapaya.com.au