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The papaya tree, Carica papaya, is believed to have originated somewhere in the tropics of southern Mexico and Central America.
How Do You Grow Papaya?
Papaya is started from seed as it is not possible to grow papaya from cuttings. It takes about five hundred grams of seed to sow one hectare of land. The plants are generally spaced 4 – 6 feet (1.2 meters to 1.8 meters) apart in the field, though closer planting densities can bring higher overall production.
How Long Does It Take Papaya to Grow?
Papaya plants can take between six and eleven months to produce mature fruit, depending on the cultivar and the temperature of your planting area – papayas like it warm. They can also be planted in a large 5 gallon (~20 liter) pot if you’re looking for a patio papaya or need to relocate your precious tropical fruit indoors during cold weather.
How Long Do Papaya Trees Last?
The papaya tree can survive for up to twenty years, however most commercially grown trees are only grown for three to four years before they are no longer considered viable.
How Do You Eat Papaya?
The fruit is mainly consumed in two ways – the unripe form, known as green papaya, and fully ripened. There are countless recipes from around the world showcasing the papaya fruit. Dishes prepared from fully ripened fruit are sweeter, while the unripe green papaya is more often used in savory dishes.
What Are Other Uses for Papaya?
The papaya plant is also commercially harvested for its latex, called papain. Papain is commonly used in a variety of medicines both commercial and traditional. It is also widely used in its powdered form as a meat tenderizer.
Where Is Papaya Grown?
Papaya was one of the first GMO crops to be used widely in commercial production, and today the majority of papaya grown for export is genetically modified.
Mexico and Brazil are the world leaders in papaya exports, accounting for about sixty percent of the global papaya trade. However, India is actually the world leader in papaya production, growing more than five and a half million tons each year. Much of this is consumed domestically, though plenty is exported to Nepal and Middle Eastern nations.
Papaya is a tropical fruit staple around the world, so whether you decide to enjoy a papaya fruit smoothie, one of the numerous desserts or other snacks produced from the papaya, or my personal favorite, ‘Som Tum Thai’ (green papaya salad), I am sure you will notice the merits of this delicious, nutritious and extremely versatile tropical fruit.