Mossagrow’s Weblog

June 20, 2008

Tropical Fruit Salad

Filed under: RECIPES — mossagrow @ 9:55 am
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Ingredients (for 6 servings)

2 cups (1-inch) cubed fresh pineapple
1 cup chopped peeled papaya or mango
1 cup sliced peeled kiwifruit (about 3 kiwifruits)
1 cip red seedless grapes
2/3 cup sliced carambola (starfruit) about 1/4 inch thick
1/4 cup flaked sweetened coconut
3 tablespoons honey
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice

Combine first 6 ingredients in a medium bowl. Chill at least 30 minutes. Combine honey and juice in a small bowl, and toss with fruit just before serving.


The Papaya

Filed under: PRODUCT INFO — mossagrow @ 9:07 am
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Common Names : Papaya ; Papaw or Paw Paw (Australia) ; Mamao (Brazil) ; Tree Melon

Origin : The papaya is believed to be native to southern Mexico, and Central America. It is now in every tropical and subtropical country.

Adaptation : Papayas have exacting climate requirements for vigorous growth and fruit production.  They must have warmth throughout the year and will be damaged by light frosts.  Cold, wet soil is almost always lethal.  Cool temperatures will also alter fruit flavour.  Papayas make excellent container and green house specimens where soil moisture and temperature can be moderated.

Growth Habit : The papaya is a short-lived, fast-growing, woody, large herb to 10 or 12 feet tall.  It generally branches only when injured.  All parts contain latex.  The hollow green or deep purple trunk is straight and cylindrical with prominent leaf scars.  Its diameter may be from 2 to 3 inches to over a foot as the base.

Foliage : The leaves emerge directly from the upper part of the stem in a spiral on nearly horizontal petioles 1 to 3 1/2 feet long.  The blade, deeply divided into 5 to 9 main segments, varies from 1 to 2 feet in width, and has prominent yellowish ribs and veins.  The life span of a leaf is 4 to 6 months.

Flowers : The five-petalled flowers are fleshy, waxy and slightly fragrant.  Some plants bear only short-stalked female flowers, or bisexual (perfect) flowers also on short stalks, while others may bear only male flowers, clustered on panicles of 5 or 6 feet long.  Some plants may have both male and female flowers.  Others at certain seasons produce short-stalked male flowers, at other times perfect flowers.  This change of sex may occur temporarily during high temperatures in midsummer.  Male or bisexual plants may change completely to female plants after being beheaded.  Certain varieties have a propensity for producing certain types of flowers.  How pollination takes place in papayas is not known with certainty.  Wind is probably the main agent, as the pollen is light and abundant, but thrips and moths may assist.  Hand pollination is sometimes necessary to get a proper fruit set.

Fruit : There are 2 types of papayas, Hawaiian and Mexican.  The Hawaiian varieties are the papayas commonly found in supermakets.  These pea-shaped fruit generally weigh about 1 pound and have yellow skin when ripe.  The flesh is bright orange or pinkish, depending on variety, with small seeds clustered in the center.  The flavour of the Mexican species is less intense than that of the Hawaiian but still delicious.  A properly ripened papaya is juicy, sweet and somewhat like a cantaloupe in flavour, although musky in some types.  The fruit (and leaves too) contain papain which helps digestion and is used to tenderize meat.  The edible seeds have a spicy flavour somewhat reminiscent of black pepper.

Fruits & Vegetables – General Info

Fruits, nuts and vegetabales play a significant role in human nutrition, especially as sources of vitamins. Fruits and vegetables supply 16% of magnesium, 19% of iron, and 9% of the calories.

Climatic conditions, especially temperature and light intensity, have a strong effect on the nutritional quality of fruits and vegetables.  Soil type, mulching, irrigation, fertilization, and other cultural practices influence the water and nutrient supply, which can affect the composition and quality attributes (appearance, texture, taste and aroma).

Maturity at harvest and harvesting method influence the commodity’s quality and extent of physical injuries.  Delays between harvest and consumption or processing can result in losses of flavour and nutritional quality.  Furthermore, processing and cooking methods too greatly affect the nutritional value of fruits and vegetables.

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