A large tropical fruit whose ripe flesh can be juicy, creamy orange, red or yellow. In the centre is a mass of large peppery black seeds, which are edible and sometimes crushed and used as a spice. Papayas, particularly unripe ones, contain an odourless, whitish liquid from which papain is extracted. Papain is an enzyme that breaks down protein and is used to tenderize meat. It also prevents gelatine from setting, so papaya is not a good option for desserts such as jellies. Chopped papaya can also cause fruit in a fruit salad to soften if left for a while, so add it just before serving. Sprinkle papaya with a little lime juice to bring out the flavour. A relative of the papaya is babaco, a five–sided seedless fruit, with golden aromatic flesh. Although papayas are sometimes called papaws, these are actually a member of the custard apple family.
Also known as — pawpaw