Mexican Papaya
Cerica Mexicana

Papaya is one of the healthiest fruits available with high Vitamin C, Vitamin A, iron, niacin, calcium and a full daily allowance of dietary fiber. Early research indicates that the Vitamin C level remains higher when the fruit is eaten fresh or raw. Papaya flesh is orange or orange-pink with a large center cavity that is filled with inedible black seeds. It also contains large quantities of the enzyme papain, which assists in digestion and is linked to a more youthful skin appearance. Papaya is one of the major components in packaged meat tenderizers.

Mexican Papaya is slightly larger than Hawaiian Papaya and often easier to grow to production in central Texas. The tree is fast-growing to 10' and generally maintains a single trunk unless the tree is damaged or pruned. Flowers are slightly fragrant and the resulting fruit is either yellow or red. The plant requires sun, reflective heat, and good drainage. Cold, wet soil will often cause root rot and even brief exposure to 25 degrees F can be damaging to fruit production. Any papaya makes an excellent specimen for container, spa room, or greenhouse wherever temperature and moisture can be maintained.

Papaya Enchiladas: For filling, mix 1/8 cup of cornstarch with enough water to dissolve the cornstarch. Combine 2 cups of peeled and diced fresh papaya with 1 cup of granulated sugar in a medium sauce pan. Stir in the cornstarch mixture and heat slowly over a very low heat until the filling becomes thick. For glaze, melt 1/2 cup of butter and mix with 1/4 cup granulated sugar and 1/2 cup brown sugar. Add 1/2 cup of water and stir until sugar begins to dissolve. Add a second 1/2 cup of water and stir until all of the sugar is dissolved. For enchiladas, spray casserole dish and pre-heat oven to 325 F. Lay out flour tortillas on work space and scoop portion of filling into tortilla, roll up and place into sprayed dish seam-side down. Fill all of tortillas. Add 2/3 of glaze over enchiladas and back in oven for 15 min. Remove from oven. Place enchilada on plate, top with vanilla bean ice cream and a drizzle of remaining glaze.