• Iulia Panait

  • Clasa a 12-a B

  • Colegiul Național “Mircea cel Bătrân

General details

The papaya plant has its origins in Central America. During the 17th century the Spanish used to plant it on Pacific colonist ground, from where it was taken to India. Now papaya can be found in every sub-tropical country. Nutritionists often refer to papaya as the “medicine tree” or the “watermelon of life”, but not many are aware of the fact that Cristopher Columbus himself named it “angels’ fruit”, when he first set foot on American soil.

The tree’s stem is tall and has no branches; its height varies between 3 and 10 meters. The leaves growing at the top of the tree form a beautiful spiral. They are composed out of 7 lobes with a 50-70 cm diameter. At the bottom of the stem you can easily notice the marks which past leaves have left behind after falling off.

Male papaya flowers are small, green and grow crammed underneath the tree’s leaves, while female flowers are bigger and grow in groups of 2 or 3 at most, if not alone, at the peak of the papaya tree. These flowers develop the well-known papaya fruits, which can oscillate from 15 to 45 cm in length and from 10 to 30 cm in width. Sometimes papaya fruits weigh even 5 kg and when they ripen they become moist and their color turns a nice yellow-orange.

Chemical composition and health benefits

A ration of papaya contains 150% of the daily necessary intake of vitamin C (one of the strongest antioxidants). Frankly, the more ripen the fruit is the more its antioxidant capacity grows. It is not a secret that papaya contains an impressive amount of “good cholesterol”, vitamin A, E, folic acid, potassium, coper, zinc and fibers. Papaya makes up for the percentage of calcium our body requires, but its greatness comes from the papaya enzyme, abundant when the fruit is still green. Homeopathic medicine recommends this enzyme in the treatment of any stomach illness.

To certify that everything about the papaya wonder fruit is not just small talk we will just have to take a look at the outstanding medical results treatments which consist of papaya extracts have shown. These extracts help in curing heart disease, drop arterial pressure, lower the risk of heart attacks and prevent cancer. The fruit also strengthens our immune system and can be integrated in diabetes, arteriosclerosis and ulcer treatments. Not to be overlooked is the fact that the papaya fruit conserves the health passive smokers’ (which you must admit, have been at list once lungs, thus prolonging most of our lives.

Asians make tea, which is considered to be threat to malaria, out of papaya leaves, but not without drawbacks. In the case of pregnant women it seems that consumed in large quantities this tea can cause spontaneous abortion. The explanation for this fact comes from here: papaya diminishes women’s progesterone secretion, this resulting in its contraceptive quality. So it doesn’t come as a surprise that in countries such as India, Pakistan and Sri-Lanka women consume papaya in order to avoid unwanted pregnancies.

Papaya seeds are pressed and afterwards used in cousin partly because of their analgesic peculiarity, but “The fruit of angels” is recognized for its capacity to heal scars and post operatory wounds. A cleansing gel which helps in case of jelly fish and bee bites, cuts and burns, can be obtained out of the papaya enzyme as well, given the fact that this substance settles on the skin level, acting as protection.

How do we use papaya?

Papaya extracts are consistently used in the cosmetic industry, at the base of all kinds of beauty products. You will be glad to hear that it reduces wrinkles and can strengthen your hair and nails. Because of the acids it contains this amazing fruit is an efficient peeler.

Cut a papaya fruit and blend it, then apply the result on your face leaving it to settle for about 10 minutes. Right after washing off the mask put on any moisturizer available and there you have it: a professional facial treatment in just a few moments. Your skin will become soft, luminous and any wrinkles will dim.

A fun fact is how papaya extract is used even for cleaning contact lances, but, of course, the list does not end here. Counting only 38-40 calories per 100 grams, papaya is a must in any diet. As goes for the chef’s in the room, the papaya fruit is used to prepare just the right stake.

But let’s star off our adventure in the universe of “the fruit of angels” with something a bit more accessible, an appetizer. For the delicious papaya bruschetta you will need the following:

  • 1 papaya cut into small cubes

  • 1 chopped red

  • 1/2 red onion finely chopped

  • 1 small chopped pepper

  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh basil

  • 2 tablespoons sugar

  • 1/4 cup red wine vinegar

  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil

  • 1/2 teaspoon mustard

  • 2 green onions, sliced

  • French baguette

  • 2 tablespoons of papaya seeds

And the method to prepare all that is as simple as this:

Mix the papaya, tomatoes, red onion and basil in a bowl. Blend the papaya seeds, sugar, vinegar, oil, mustard and onions. Pour the mixture from the bowl and mix. Cut bread into slices and serve with the mixture from the bowl on top. Voila! You have made yourself a papaya worthy dish.

Recipe source:

My personal experience with papaya

I must admit my experience with papaya starts alongside you, the ones who are now trying the recipe above for the first time. If at first this fruit’s exotic name hadn’t convinced me it was worth a shot, all of the research work done for this project sure turned me around. The result? I am going to add one key ingredient to my pocket cook book, and that is the fruit of the angels.