I grew up in Hawaii, in my younger years. I lived on Oahu for much of the 60's. One thing I never liked was papaya. I love coconut and pineapple. I just never developed a taste for papaya...until lately! I started buying it dried, in bulk at WinCo, several weeks ago. I fell in love with it. The only thing I find wrong with it is, it's candied in sugar! That is not something I want in my new, healthier lifestyle. But, I make an exception and eat a small amount, every day. I especially like it on hikes, where the little bit of a sugar buzz I get, comes in handy. I am seriously in love with this fruit! If I can dry my own, without all the added sugar, I'd be in Papaya Heaven!
While at WinCo on Sunday, for our weekly grocery shopping trip, I found fresh papaya and bought one. Every two weeks, I buy bell peppers of every color and onions. On Monday morning, I get my stool set in my favorite "chopping" spot and set out to chop all my fresh peppers and onions. I put them in gallon ziplock bags and freeze them, to use over the next two weeks. It is so much easier to have them handy to use, instead of having them rotten by the time I get to them. And they're yummy in almost anything.
After I finished my chopping this morning, I used part of my bounty and started my favorite Spicy Turkey Taco Chili, in my crock pot. But, I digress!
My papaya was just sitting there in the basket with my apples, looking like it needed me to taste it. I definitely had more in mind, than just a taste!
So, I grabbed a clean cutting board and a sharp knife and started dissecting my prize! I cut the ends off, cut it in three lengthwise pieces and removed the seeds.
I have been reading about growing my own indoor papaya tree, with the seeds from fresh fruit. I'll dry them and follow the instructions to see if I can get my own to grow. I'm just not sure how to figure out if my seeds are bi-sexual, which they need to be, so they'll produce fruit. I need to do a bit more research.
I sliced my papaya into approximately 1 inch thicknesses and removed the rind.
I like the sweet taste of the WinCo dried papaya, so I decided to add sweetener to mine, as well. I chose to use Sucralose, which you can read more about HERE. I added three tablespoons to a ziplock bag and added my papaya slices. I shook it to coat the fruit and then spread it on a cookie sheet. I admit, I ate a few pieces while I was cutting it up. YUM! I also tasted a small piece after I coated it and it was delicious! Not too sweet, but just sweet enough.
I had preheated my oven to 140. I put my cookie sheet in and set my timer to 6 hours. Everything I have read says to give it 6-8 hours, depending how thick you slice it. I'll check it in 6 and figure out how much longer I think it needs, at that point. I cannot wait to see how it turns out. I might be asking for a Food Dehydrator, for Christmas!
I can hardly wait until it gets done. I want a piece now! I guess I'll snack on a piece from WinCo. Maybe I won't be doing that for long. Keeping my fingers crossed!
The finished product!
The verdict is...I think I need a Food Dehydrator! The taste is good, but the texture leaves a lot to be desired. It's rubbery and hard to chew. I'll be eating the WinCo version until I get it right. Back to the drawing board.
Now, I need to go sew something. I know that turns out like I want! Muhahaha!
-Originally posted on November 19, 2012, by Stef