Native to Mexico and Central America, papaya is an elongated tropical fruit that’s available year-round. Papaya fruit has little black seeds that are edible and have long been useful as a traditional Chinese remedy for liver health. This fruit is cultivated for its flesh, which tastes less sweet than melon and has a softer texture. Papaya also contains an enzyme called papain, which aids in digestion. In high doses, raw papaya may cause stomach irritation from the high papain concentration, so go slowly when introducing papaya to your diet.
It’s best to choose papaya with a bright yellow skin, which indicates a fully ripe fruit. However, if the surface is green, the papaya is still edible. Ripe papaya yields slightly when gently pressed and feels heavy for its size. The skin is smooth and unblemished, and if there is no bruising or visible damage, a few black or moldy spots are acceptable.
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