Papaya is the fruit of the Carica papaya plant.
It originated in Central America and Southern Mexico but is now grown in many other parts of the world.
Papaya contains an enzyme called papain, which can break down the tough protein chains found in muscle meat. Because of this, people have used papaya to tenderize meat for thousands of years.
If the papaya is ripe, it can be eaten raw. However, unripe papaya should always be cooked before eating — especially during pregnancy, as the unripe fruit is high in latex, which can stimulate contractions
Papayas are shaped similar to pears and can be up to 20 inches (51 cm) long. The skin is green when unripe and orange when ripe, while the flesh is yellow, orange or red.
The fruit also has many black seeds, which are edible but bitter.