Hawaii is pretty passionate about its papayas. Most home gardeners have one or more growing in their yards.
Papayas are a fast growing herbaceous plant. They are short-lived but we had one plant growing on the farm for nine years. Plants are either hermaphroditic, female or male.
The fruits of the hermaphroditic plant produces pear shaped fruit and the female plant produces round fruit. The males plants produce pollen.
There are many ways to eat papaya fruit; either green or ripe including their seeds.
Papaya Seed Dressing, made from the black peppery-flavored seeds* of a ripe papaya, is a delicious way to liven up a fresh garden salad.
Papaya Seed Dressing
- 3 tbs of fresh ripe organic papaya seeds
- 1 tbs of Dijon style mustard
- 2 tbs of raw honey
- 3/4-1 cup olive oil
- 3 tbs of apple cider vinegar
- 1/4 tsp of sea salt
- 1 tbs of whey — optional (whey increases shelf-life, adds enzymes and additional nutrients)
Half a ripe papaya and remove the seeds. Rinse the seeds and measure out 2-3 tablespoons of seeds. Place in a mixing bowl or mortar and crush with a pestle. Add all the ingredients except for the olive oil in a food processor or mixing bowl. Mix well. Slowly pour the olive oil into the bowl while simultaneously whipping all ingredients (you may use an immersion blender or food processor). The dressing should emulsify creating a dressing that does not separate.
*The seeds are often consumed in Hawaii as an anti-parasitic (vermifuge). A few are casually left on the papaya and eaten along with the fruit. The seeds also contain bactericidal and fungicidal properties. If you are pregnant, you may want to avoid eating papaya because they act as an emmenagogue.