Papayas can be eaten raw or used as an ingredient in chutneys, curries, and salsas. The fruit is juicy and sweet, whereas papaya seeds are bitter. The seeds can be pulverized and then used to tenderize meat. The papain contained in the seeds alleviates gastrointestinal discomfort.
From Wikipedia: “The papaya (/pəˈpaɪə/ or US /pəˈpɑːjə/) (from Carib via Spanish), papaw, (/pəˈpɔː/) or pawpaw (/ˈpɔːˌpɔː/) is the plant Carica papaya, one of the 22 accepted species in the genus Carica of the family Caricaceae.
It is native to the tropics of the Americas, perhaps from southern Mexico and neighboring Central America. It was first cultivated in Mexico several centuries before the emergence of the Mesoamerican classical civilizations.”
“In a 100 gram serving, papaya fruit provides 43 calories and is a significant source of vitamin C (75% of the Daily Value, DV) and a moderate source of folate (10% DV), but otherwise has negligible content of nutrients.”
“The ripe fruit of the papaya is usually eaten raw, without skin or seeds. The unripe green fruit can be eaten cooked, usually in curries, salads, and stews. Green papaya is used in Southeast Asian cooking, both raw and cooked. In Thai cuisine, papaya is used to make Thai salads such as som tam and Thai curries such as kaeng som when still not fully ripe. In Indonesian cuisine, the unripe green fruits and young leaves are boiled for use as part of lalab salad, while the flower buds are sautéed and stir-fried with chillies and green tomatoes as Minahasan papaya flower vegetable dish. Papayas have a relatively high amount of pectin, which can be used to make jellies. The smell of ripe, fresh papaya flesh can strike some people as unpleasant. In Brazil, the unripe fruits are often used to make sweets or preserves.
The black seeds of the papaya are edible and have a sharp, spicy taste. They are sometimes ground and used as a substitute for black pepper.
In some parts of Asia, the young leaves of the papaya are steamed and eaten like spinach.”
“Both green papaya fruit and the tree's latex are rich in papain, a protease used for tenderizing meat and other proteins, as practiced currently by indigenous Americans and people of the Caribbean region. It is now included as a component in some powdered meat tenderizers.”
“Papaya skin, pulp and seeds contain a variety of phytochemicals, including carotenoids and polyphenols, as well as benzyl isothiocyanates and benzyl glucosinates, with skin and pulp levels that increase during ripening. Papaya seeds also contain the cyanogenic substance prunasin.”
“In some parts of the world, papaya leaves are made into tea as a treatment for malaria, but the mechanism is not understood and no treatment method based on these results has been scientifically proven.”
Allergies and side effects:
“Papaya releases a latex fluid when not ripe, possibly causing irritation and an allergic reaction in some people.
Consumption of very large amounts of papaya may cause carotenemia, harmless yellowing of soles and palms. A very large dose would need to be consumed; papaya contains about 6% of the level of beta carotene found in carrots (the most common cause of carotenemia).”