Green and orange papaya are the same fruit that have just been picked at different stages of development. They grow wild and are cultivated in Asia where the climate is perfect for them to thrive. They are one of the only trees bearing fruit that are harvested in the first year of growth and often trees are culled at 3yrs and above as they become to tall to pick the fruit. With very slender trunks which are pliable its not a tree to climb! The papaya is a native of Central and South America and found its way to Asia with Spanish and Portuguese explorers. In the 15th century it arrived Asia via the West Indies and the Philippines and by the 18th century it was being grown throughout the tropics.
Immature green papaya are used as a base for salads of which the most well known in the UK is the Thai classic, som tam, its a fabulous carrier for the big flavours of chilli, lime, garlic, and fish sauce and loved for its crunchy texture.
Scroll down for links to recipes.
Som Tam – Green Papaya Salad
Download a printable pdf of the recipe Thai Green Papaya Slaw (tom sum) here