P is for Papaya
The papaya (also known as melon tree, papaw, pawpaw) is a fruit of the plant Carica Papaya. It is found throughout the Philippines but a native to the tropics of the Americas, and was first cultivated in Mexico. It is a small, erect, usually unbranched, fast-growing tree growing 3 to 6 meters high.
Ripe papaya is a popular Filipino breakfast fruit; lemon juice is often squeezed over the flesh. It also makes an excellent ingredient for fruit salad. The fruit is crunchy when still not fully ripe---I dip it in either salt or vinegar, one of my favorite snacks. Green fruit is used in making Achara (pickles), and an essential ingredient in Tinola, a Filipino chicken soup. Green papaya fruit and the tree's latex are rich in papain, a protease used in tenderizing meat. Its ability to break down tough meat fibers was used for thousand of years by indigenous Americans. It is now included as a component in powdered meat tenderizers.
Papaya fruit has a laxative effect and a rich source of nutrients such as calcium, iron, Vitamins A, B and C and dietary fiber. It has also many uses in folk medicine---from rheumatism to warts, dyspepsia, bronchitis, centipede bites to asthma. Preliminary medical research has confirmed the potential contraceptive and abortifacient capability of papaya; seeds might contain antibacterial properties and may have effects in toxicity-induced kidney failure and liver cancer cells. Papaya is also used in cosmetics and a popular whitening, anti-acne soap and shampoo.
Linking to ABC Wednesday