Winter may be taking hold but the Australian papaya and papaw industry is reminding consumers fruit abundant and ready to eat.
New season produce began to hit stores in April, with plenty of fresh fruit available from all growing regions available.
Innisfail papaya grower, Joe Zapalla, said high quality fruit was expected, with new plantings producing fresh fruit this season.
“We’ve had good rainfall and growing conditions in the Atherton Tablelands region, however, there’s been quite high rainfall on the wet tropical coast,” Mr Zapalla said.
“Because of this we expect a slight delay to the start of the new papaya crops, but there will be plenty of sweet, tasty fruit available to enjoy.”
Known for their tropical flavour, red papaya and yellow papaw can be enjoyed in sweet or savoury dishes, or simply by themselves with a squeeze of lime.
They also boast a wealth of health benefits, according to accredited practising dietitian and Australian Papaya ambassador, Caitlin Reid.
“Papaya and papaw are the perfect addition to your weekly shopping basket. One serving (150g) provides a healthy dose of folate, fibre, vitamin C and vitamin A, which helps keep your immune system, gut health and skin in-check,” Ms Reid said.
With the rise of “flexitarianism” and those choosing to follow a plant-based diet, Ms Reid said papaya was one of many plant-based foods that packed a serious health punch.
“Plant-based foods contain a complex mix of useful chemicals and fibre that work in synergy to lower oxidative stress and dampen inflammation,” she said.
“More and more research is suggesting that plant-based diets may help to better manage or reduce the risk of developing a host of health conditions including diabetes, heart disease, obesity and dementia.
“Papaya is just one of many plant-based foods that provide these benefits, thanks to its unique combination of antioxidants, which help fight the damaging effects of free radicals in the body, while also supporting the immune system."
Australian papaya and papaw have peak seasons in spring and autumn but are available all year round.