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Tuesday, August 3, 2010


The papaya or pawpaw (papita in Urdu), is native to South America. It is thought that it has been cultivated from a wild variety that was virtually inedible and bitter, so we have this tasty, juicy, exotic fruit thanks to the painstaking efforts of South American Indians. The papaya was first documented by the Spanish chronicler Oviedo in 1526, when it was discovered along the Caribbean coastline of Panama and Colombia.
It can be grown from seeds and the tree grown from a seed will be fruit bearing 18 months after planting. The seeds are edible, and have a peppery taste, and can be used as a pepper substitute. They can be used in salads. For centuries, South Americans have used the juice of the papaya to tenderize meat. In Asia the leaves are steamed and eaten as a green vegetable, and the green fruit is used in Thai salads. Teas made from the leaves are said to be effective against malaria.
However if pregnant, don’t eat green papaya. In parts of Asia they are used to bring on abortions, and as a contraceptive (the seeds are spermicidal).They are thought to be effective in preventing heart disease and colon cancer, and their anti-inflammatory properties mean that they are good for asthma sufferers as well as those suffering from rheumatoid and osteoarthritis. They have nutrients which boost the immune system and can help when you suffer from recurrent earache, colds or flu. No wonder they were revered by the ancient South American Indians.
Fresh papaya can be used in fruit salads, with muesli, yoghurt or in green salads. You can slice one in half, remove the seeds and fill with crab, shrimp, or tuna or even chicken salad. Place a slice on top of a grilled fish to garnish it, and eat as an unusual accompaniment to it.

1 papaya sliced in half and seeds removed
250 gr cottage cheese
1 lime
30 gr toasted almonds
freshly ground black pepper and salt if you wish
2 mint leaves to garnish

Sprinkle the papaya halves with lime juice, then pile in the cottage cheese. Top with pepper, almonds and garnish with mint leaves.
Serves 2.
This has Taste and is a Treat.

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