History and Facts:
The papaya plant is tall with a thick stem of 12 to 16 inches and has large leaves. Its fruit is oval and melon-like, and may weigh up to 20 pounds. The skin is thin, smooth and tough. A ripened papaya has light or deep yellow exterior. The inside flesh may be yellow, orange or various shades of salmon. Papayas are juicy, sweet and taste similar to a cantaloupe. Unripe, green papayas are boiled and served as a vegetable or cubed and cooked in a mixed vegetable soup.
A half of a papaya has 30 calories. A papaya is an excellent source of vitamin C, and is rich in vitamins A and B.
Papayas should be stored at temperatures between 50 and 55 degrees fahrenheit. Papayas ripen in two to three days held at temperatures between 55 and 65 degrees fahrenheit. Never store a papaya that is less than half ripe below 45 degrees fahrenheit. Cooler temperatures permanently shut off the ripening process. When ripe, the fruit can be refrigerated up to one week without quality loss.
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