June is National Papaya Month! With the summer kicking off soon, it’s no wonder this month is dedicated to celebrating all of the wonderful things this tropical fruit has to offer. Native to Mexico, Central America and the Caribbean, papaya is enjoyed all around the world for its health benefits, versatility and of course, delicious flavor. This superfood is incredibly rich in vitamins, calcium, antioxidants, potassium and more and also helps aid in healthy digestion. Papaya and bananas combined are nothing short of a nutritional powerhouse which is why this Papaya Banana Smoothie couldn’t be more fitting for commemorating this food holiday. It’s not only scrumptious but also filling enough to curb those morning or afternoon cravings and keep your tummy happy until lunch or dinner time. Both papayas and bananas are not quite as sweet as say, berries or grapes, and benefit from the addition of a little extra honey or vanilla extract in this smoothie.
If you’re unfamiliar with papayas, then you’re in for a real treat this time of the year! Papayas have an irresistibly sweet yet musky flavor and a soft, buttery texture. Once sliced open, you’ll notice an abundance of small, black seeds which are entirely edible though quite sharp and peppery in taste. When ripe, papaya is often eaten raw either out of hand or incorporated fresh into salads such as this Shrimp Salad with Caribbean Red Papaya or Papaya Jicama Watermelon Salad. When unripe, papaya can be cooked and added to dishes such as stews, curries or stir-fries. Here at Melissa’s, we currently have a few special varieties available for a limited season. One of our newest additions comes all the way from Belize–the Caribbean Red Papaya. This large variety boasts a melon-like flavor, fragrant aroma and is incredibly sweet. Another deliciously sweet variety we’re head over heels for are Strawberry Papayas. Their gorgeous salmon-red to pink flesh is considered one of the sweetest and most flavorful of all papayas and has a fragrant, juicy flavor with a hint of fresh peaches and berries. Check out some of our other seasonal papaya varieties and try them all!
Papaya Banana Smoothie
Yields: 1 serving
- 1/2 of large papaya (use Caribbean Red Papaya, Maradol Papaya, Strawberry Papaya or Tai Nung Papaya)
- 1 ripe banana
- 1 cup of milk or almond milk
- 1/4 cup of ice cubes
- 1 teaspoon of honey
1. Start by preparing the fruit. Peel and seed the papaya and then chop into large chunks. Peel and slice the banana.
2. Combine the fruit with the milk, ice cubes and honey in a blender. Blender together until smooth.
3. Pour into a large mason jar or glass and serve fresh.