For as long as anyone can remember there have been papayas in the tropics. They probably originated in Mexico or Central America and have spread to wherever the climate has suited them. Papayas are large (sometimes bigger than a football), have green to gold yellow skin and the inside can be yellow to orange to red depending on the variety or where they come from. They are very juicy and smooth and have a multitude of little black seeds inside. Papayas are a good source of vitamin A and C and the flesh contains an enzyme, papain, which acts as a meat tenderizer. The greener the papaya, the more active the enzyme is.
Papayas are harvested while green and should be left to ripen at room temperature, in a vertical position on a sunny windowsill. There is simply nothing better than a chilled glass of papaya juice in the morning, blended with orange or pineapple juice or by itself with a bit of lemon juice squeezed over it, or maybe in a gigantic fruit salad with berries, sliced Asian pears or apples, bananas, a dollop of yogurt and honey plus a generous sprinkling of granola.