Although papaya fruit has been cultivated and consumed for hundreds of years, never before has it witnessed such a dramatic increase in commercial product derivatives as it has within the past few decades. Indeed, papaya has found new use in innumerable preparations as a food additive and manufactured good.
Papaya food products are often sun dried, freeze dried, canned, or otherwise processed for an improved post-harvest shelf life.
Types of Papaya Food Products
Many people are familiar with the fresh, raw papaya fruit. However, in recent years, more and more papaya food derivatives have been made available. One such product is the pressed papaya nectar which is bottled and chilled, or used as an ingredient in refreshing tropical juices.
Equally as popular is the papaya fruit puree. It is commercially frozen for shipping and later thawed and blended into juices, jams, chutneys, ice creams, and other desserts. Even the unripe green papaya has found commercial use as a canned preservative in sugary syrups.
Although papaya food products are usually based on the flesh of the fruits, its leaves and enzymes have also been added to other food products, such as meat tenderizers, beers, and chewing gums. Papaya seed products are found on the Indian spice market as an adulterant of black pepper and other seasonings.
Other popular papaya food products include baked chips, ice tea powders, candies, and fruit cocktails.
Benefits of Papaya Food Products
The best thing about papaya foods is that they allow for a much wider distribution of the papaya fruit. In fact, the use of preservatives and other methods of manufacturing have created superior products with much longer shelf lives than fresh papayas alone.
Researchers have recently discovered new ways to inhibit the gelation of frozen papaya puree so that it stays fresher longer. This has saved manufacturing companies time, labor, and ultimately money.
Also, papaya foods are available year round, even in areas where the plants cannot be cultivated naturally. Many still retain some of the essential nutrients found in the papaya fruit, such as vitamins A, C, and E.
Where to Buy Papaya Food Products
Prompted by the childcare, tourism, healthcare, and hospitality industries, consumer demand for high quality fruit products has exploded in recent years.
No surprise then that papaya food products are so abundant on the commercial market. They are widely available in grocery stores, fresh food markets, health food stores, and online markets worldwide.
Having been adapted to countless culinary preparations and other uses over many centuries, the succulent papaya has taken on elements of the divine. Today's papaya foods only serve to increase the popularity and versatility of these delicious little fruits, sweetening the world one product at a time.
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- International Journal of Food Science and Technology, Physico-chemical and sensory quality of fresh cut papaya (Carica papaya) packaged in micro-perforated polyvinyl chloride containers, 2014
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- University of Hawaii, Papaya, General crop information | The Kulanui project | Papaya puree processing | Farmer’s bookshelf, Papaya
- University of Hawaii - Hawaii Agricultural Experiment Station, Sucrose as a gelation inhibitor of commercially frozen papaya puree