Green PapayasPapaya (Carica) can be eaten as a fruit or vegetable.  If you wait till papaya turns yellow then it can be eaten as a fruit. It is smooth and sweet and have this enzyme papain which is good for digestive functions in your body.  The green ones on the other hand can be prepared as a salad or as an ingredient for a recipe like “tinola” or “diningding”.  Thai papaya salad is the most popular of this recipes.  In the Philippines though, we make the green papaya into pickle and we call this “achara”, from an Indian word “achar” which means pickles. You need to be patient making achara because you need to grate a lot of green papayas unless you have a grating machine. In “tinola” recipe, we usually use chicken as the meat although you can use beef because green papaya is a meat tenderizer too.  It also includes malunggay (moringa) as the green vegetable which is very healthy.  You may substitute spinach if malunggay is not available in your area.

Growing papaya is fairly easy.  You can even sow the seeds from a store bought ripe papaya.  When the seeds germinate after a week or so, pick  for the most sturdy looking seedlings and remove the rest.  It needs a lot of fertilizer especially nitrogen.  Its best to put compost all around the tree and water regularly.  When the papaya is starting to flower you have to note how the flowers are showing.  If the flowers are branching then it is a male plant, but if the flowers are close to the trunk it is a female and will be producing fruits thru cross pollination.  But to ensure papaya to be productive, buy seeds from a nursery which says solo papaya.  This is a papaya that UH had isolated as hermaphrodite which means the flowers contains both male stamens and female ovaries.  Most commercial growers plant this type of papaya.

I just like the idea of a papaya tree fruiting in my backyard and if I need something for cooking tinola or if I feel like making salad I’ll just go out there and pick one or two green papayas.  I actually have a couple of trees in the yard and I always enjoy a ripe papaya almost every day. I encourage the homeowners to grow papayas in their backyard and enjoy.


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