The Binomial name for papaya is Carica Papaya L.
It was believed in 16th century the papaya seeds was brought to Melaka from Philippines.
Papaya is called as “ betik “ in Malaysia.
Papaya is rich in enzyme called as papin (help in tenderizing meat), vitamin C ( more than orange that is 71 mg verses 39.6 mg) and a lot of fibres. You can easily see the Papaya tree every where in Malaysia.
The papaya tree is an unbranch tree and can grow till 10 m tall. The 7 lobes leaves are large and place on top of the trunk. It’s about 45cm to 65cm. The flower is small and a bit waxy. We can see them on the axils of the leaves. The lower trunk is filled with the old scars and you can see them when the tree grows higher and higher. These scars were made by the old leaves or the borne fruits. If you plant this papaya from the seed then within 6 to 12 months, it will be mature enough to produce the fruit.
In Malaysia, there are 2 types of papaya which are very popular, Eksotika and Sekaki. The female fruit is more in round shape. If there are male and female parts in the same flowers then the shape of the fruit will become cylindrical shape. It will weights from 0.30kg to 3kg. We can buy the fruit in the market, fruit shop or roadside stands fruit hawker.
It is an edible fruit and we can eat it either ripe or unripe. When it’s ripe, it is aromatic. We can just cut the soft fruit , peel away the waxy and thin skin and throw the small spicy taste of black seeds. We also can eat it when it’s unripe by cook in the soup, curries, salads, stews. The taste is marvelous.
Some local people like to take the papaya shoot and put into the hot boil water to cook it then make it as ulam (leaves that can be eaten raw) and eat together as sambal belacan.( a paste of shrimps condiment).
However we need to take some care when cutting the fruit because when the papaya is unripe it release a type of latex fluid, which will cause the irritation for the allergic people.
It is also good to take papaya to help the digestion problem and constipation.
For women it can be used as a facial product. Just take a slice of papaya and crush it then apply on the face. After a few minutes then wash it away. You will feel the face is extremely clean and comfortable.
Please bear in mind for women, the high consume for the papaya can let you face the problem of the hormone in your body such as progesterone.
In some country it is used as a folk remedy for women in contraception and abortion.
Papaya fruit and leaves contain carpaine or an anthelmintic alkaloid which will cause dangerous if in high doses.
Too much of consumption also cause carotenemia, where you can see the yellowing of soles and palms.
A few example of the maturity of papaya for the Eksotika.
· 1) green in colour on the skin indicates the immature of the fruit. It’s totally not ready yet to be harvest.
· 2) green with some traces of yellowish in colour on the skin means the fruit is already mature but the flesh still hard and it’s red with thick greenish yellow band. It taste only slightly sweet and now it is suitable to do something with pickles.
· 3) It will be a half ripe fruit when you can see more green than yellow on the skin. The flesh is in red with thin greenish yellow band. Now the flesh is firm and sweet. You can enjoy eating it if you like this stage of ripen.
· 4) The ripe fruit will be more yellow than green colour on the skin. You can see more red in colour for the flesh. This stage of ripen is good at eating.
· 5) When the fruit is fully ripen, the colour will be yellow with some trace of green.on the skin. At this stage the flesh is fully red, firm and sweet. This is the best eating stage.
· 6) If it is fully yellow to yellowish orange on the skin, then you can know this is over ripen fruit. The flesh will be soft, completely red in colour and very sweet. Anyway the fruit still edible fresh to eat for the moment.