Polarizing Papaya: A tasting for Nat'l Papaya Month

At the start of each month, the food team talks about what blogs to work on. This could include anything from recipes to national food holidays, so when we stumbled upon National Papaya Month we were a bit stumped. Is it even worth covering? How many papaya recipes could we possibly find?

But the biggest hurdle was that Jennifer Alejos, one of our fab summer interns, had never tried the tropical fruit. I picked up a papaya from my local HEB and tried converting the uninitiated. Here's what Jennifer had to say:

"Today I tried papaya for the first time and I'm never looking back. In fact, I'm looking as far away as possible because I never want that disgusting fruit to touch my taste buds again. From its pungent smell to its soggy texturepapaya is not intended for the faint of flavor. As a first-timer to the papaya game, I was expecting the exotic fruit to be sweet, settle nicely on my tongue and have me wanting more. Therefore, I was shocked when it had quite the opposite effect. I get that its good for you and everything but this fruit just lost another believer today."

As a lifelong fan of papaya, I was a bit stumped. As a little niña, my dad would chop up a whole fruit, ditch the bitter seeds, give it a splash of lime and done. We'd eat it for breakfast or as a snack. As World's Healthiest Foods points out, papaya is pretty boss when it comes to digesting proteins and adding Vitamin C and fiber to any diet. It's pungent...yes, but in a good way, like kimchi.

Turns out, I was also on the losing team as Flavor intern Janae Rice doesn't care for the fruit, either. She'll eat papaya begrudgingly in fruit cups, usually when doused in lime and chile powder.

"Papaya isn’t the most popular fruit which is the reason I haven’t eaten much of it. I usually see it in a fruit cup with my favorites, watermelon and pineapple, and compared to those sweet and juicy fruits papaya isn’t as flavorful. I’m coming around to the taste of papaya though. Having a few bites of this one, by itself tastes better than the previous times I’ve scoured at the taste of it. Perhaps this time I was more mentally prepared to taste it, but there’s something about the soft texture and not too sweet taste of the papaya that I’m beginning to like.?

What do they know? More papaya for me. Are you team papaya or team get-that-shit-out-of-my-face? Sound off below.

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