Papayas – The 411

by Erin, The $5 Dinner Mom on December 20, 2011

(Please pardon the iPhone photos. My camera battery was charging!)

Lechoza. Lechosa.

That’s the spanish word for papaya.

Pronounced “Le-cho-za.” Short e, short 0 sounds.

I’d never had a lechoza/papaya until I lived in the Dominican Republic. And there, I had the three trees growing in my front yard. I’ll tell you what…there’s nothing better than eating fruit that you watched grow and get to pick at the peak ripeness. But even still, you can get a good papaya in the parts of the world where they are not grown.

So that’s what a papaya looks like on the inside (above). Little tiny, black and slimy seeds. And just as with any other melon, you scoop them out along with the white-ish membranes that hold the seeds to the fruit. Then you remove the skin, slice and dice the flesh into bite size pieces…then eat as is, or toss into a fruit salad.

How to you know a papaya is ripe and that you should purchase it?

  • It has a sweet smell coming from the stem end, similar to a ripe cantaloupe.
  • It is soft and you can gently press your thumb to make a small indentation. (Much like you would for a ripe avocado.)
  • When you slice open the papaya, the deeper orange/red the flesh, the sweeter it will be.

This was Tyler’s first time trying papaya…and he couldn’t get enough! I think had it not been so ripe and sweet, he wouldn’t have enjoyed it so much.

What do you do if you think it’s ripe, then you open it and it’s not ripe at all?

Don’t fret.

You just turn it into a “batida.”

That’s the Dominican word for smoothie.

Just toss your papaya into a blender with some milk and sweetener of your choice and blend away. The end result is a rich, creamy and very smooth “batida.”

You can learn more about the health benefits of papaya.

Have you tried papaya before? Did you like it? Was it ripe enough to be sweet?

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Trisha December 21, 2011 at 12:45 pm

We love papaya’s! First off they are so cheap per pound. But secondly they are packed with so much good stuff, especially for kids with food allergies. Here’s a link to my favorite papaya treats and suggestions:;
http://funkyfoodallergies.blogspot.com/2009/03/perfect-papaya.html

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