One cup of this sunny fruit offers more than 100 percent of your daily recommended vitamin C, along with abundant vitamin A, potassium, and papain, a digestion-friendly, anti-inflammatory enzyme. Varieties range from spherical to elongated, with golden yellow to deep-pink flesh.
Choose soft-to-the-touch papayas with blotchy, reddish-orange skin (black spots are fine); too-hard fruits need more ripening at room temperature. Most are genetically modified, the result of fighting a virus that nearly wiped out Hawaiian papaya farming in the 1980s. USDA Organic certification ensures no GMOs.
Smoothie. For tropical refreshment, blend papaya chunks with coconut water or milk, sliced strawberries or mango, and ground cardamom.
Salsa. Mix finely chopped papaya, avocado, jalapeño, red onion, cilantro, fresh lime juice, and sea salt to taste. Serve alongside grilled fish or atop veggie burgers.
Seeds. Yes, they’re edible! Whole or ground, they add a nice peppery taste to salsas, rice or lentil dishes, and salad dressings.