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Native American

 Herbs  & Plants

Of The Southwest


The Papaya is not well known in the US, which is a shame, as this large, showy and tasty fruit has many desirable qualities. The very large ( 1 to 20 pounds) melon-like fruit grow on a large herbaceous tree-like plant in frost-free areas. When a seed is planted, it takes only about 18 months to 2 years to grow to its full mature size and bear fruit. After the visit of Columbus, these tropical plants were transported to many other warm areas of the world, and became so popular in these areas that often the memory of its land of origin has been lost. The heavy, tender skinned fruit is difficult to ship, and in the US, it is grown primarily in Southern Florida, which is where I first ran into them.There are lots and lots of "freebie" kinds of fruit just growing in folk's yards down there!


For health considerations, papayas produce an enzyme called papain which is similar to the digestive enzyme pepsin, and can be used in treating certain digestive ailments. Papain is also used as a meat tenderizer.

Sorry, no recipe! I have to confess- I am too lazy to cook this puppy, when it is so good just sliced and eaten with a little lime juice. However,click here for a link to a free online recipe for a salad with papaya, avocado and grapefruit that looks yummy:

Avocado and Papaya Salad