March 08, 2005

I just lo-o-o-ve food shopping

Some people always know exactly what they want when they go into a supermarket. They gather what's on their list (or in their head) and head for the register. "Grab what you came for, do yer business and get out," is their motto.

Me? I like walking up and down the aisles; exploring the shelves for interesting items that might give me interesting ideas. Most of the time I like to leave the store with at least one thing I've never purchased before.

Today's never-before-purchased purchase: fresh papaya.

Now, I've had canned papaya several times. But, this was the first time I'd seen fresh papaya in the produce section at my local Stop&Shop.

The thing is huge. Cut in half lengthwise, it's even bigger that the largest eggplant I've come across. Watermelon-green on the outside, cantalopy-orange in the inside, with little black seeds around the hollow - like a squash.

So, I got home, unwrapped the papaya-half from the plastic wrap and grabbed a large knife. The thing is as soft as cool butter; rind an' all. Removing the seeds and inside skin of the hollow is almost like skimming cream. No effort required at all. Cutting away the rind is easier than cutting away the crust from a slice of bread.

Tasting a chunk, I was first struck at how moist it is. Very light; it practically melts in your mouth.

Secondly, the taste. A hint of honeydew, two hints of cantalope and eight hints of mango. Very moist and very sweet, and the actual flavor is a bit subtle.

In fact, it's kind of sickly sweet. Kinda like it was a normal fruit that was cultivated in sugarwater. Almost like a piece of water-bloated, air-pumped, mango/melon flavored maple candy.

One other thing. Unlike most fruit, the fresh papaya actually made me thirsty. It also made me want to eat more papaya.
Assuming it's a close relative of mango, it must be loaded with B vitamins. For some reason the combination of the vitamins and the sugars made me grab a glass of iced water. And it's frickin' cold around here.

Evaluation: mixed. It's a good plate if you're in the mood for a very sweet and light fruit. But, that's it, 'cause the actual papayaness (flavorly speaking), while tasty, seems to have been merely an afterthought when the nature gods came up with this one.

How does fresh compare to canned? The canned variety has more flavor and more of a firm texture. But, what I don't like about canned papaya is the intensity of the tastes. The mangoesque flavor and the sweetness are more pronounced after canning. Fresh is much easier on the taste buds, but, it also has a slighter emphasis on the sweetness.

I much prefer this fresh papaya to the canned papaya. But, I'd add, I prefer bananas and peaches to papaya.

Posted by Tuning Spork at March 8, 2005 08:11 PM

They also make yummy drink things if you whirr it up in the blender with some yogurt. Or some rum.

Posted by: RP at March 9, 2005 01:23 PM
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