Saturday, January 14, 2012

First Papaya Harvest


This was the first year any of our papaya trees bore fruit.  We never had any put on fruit until this year, and we weren't sure how long the fruits would last before a freeze threatened.  We found out...



One of the trees appeared to be a yellow-fruiting papaya, and the other the ruby type fruit.  We watched with great anticipation as the fruits developed in a spiraling pattern up the trunks, slowly growing larger.  There were nearly 20 on the ruby papaya, and a half dozen or more on the yellow.

We had to harvest all the papayas prematurely, or at least earlier than we would have chosen, when we heard that the temps would drop to freezing for not one day, but at least two in a row.  Still, I wrapped them as well as possible in sheets.  But the night before all that, we went ahead and brought in the fruits that were big enough to allow to ripen and eat.



The yellow papaya fruits were smaller than the ruby papayas, but they still got bigger than what I've seen in the stores.  They are more round, as well.  This one is the first of any of them to ripen since we harvested the lot.  The skins turn mottled and patchy and aren't the kind of "supermarket attractive," but the real treasure is on the inside...


The flesh of the yellow papayas is a pale cantaloupe color.  It appears these seeds were not fully developed, or at least that's my guess, since we harvested them early.

Usually, the seeds are plentiful,dark, and coated with a thick gel coat...papaya "caviar."  We'll save these, just in case they germinate, but it's likely they are too immature to be viable.

But the proof's not just in the hardiness, but also in the taste.  I've tasted some bland and downright yuck papayas before from the store, and others that were wonderful.  For me, papaya has been an acquired taste, but I was pleasantly surprised tonight when we shared a half for dinner.  This particular one had a mellow honey taste with mild papaya flavor...not insipidly mild, and also not heavily musky like some papayas.  It was sweet and tender, so...SUCCESS!!!!

We're new to being able to actually have any fruit to show for our (well, Jack's) tree-growing efforts.  But it is worth the wait!  And I'm not sure I'm yet adjusted, even after 8 years, of having fresh fruit ripening in the middle of winter.  But NO complaints!

Are you northerners eating your jars of apple butter yet and drinking spiced cider?  It's COLD up there :)


And a question for any Floridians...do your papaya trees die all the way back in the winter likes ours are?  If not, what's your secret?


And final question...I posted these pics a larger size than most of my posts.  On your screen, do they bleed over the column edges, or are they just fine?  If they are problematic for some of your formats, I'll shrink them again.

Hope everyone is staying warm!

11 comments:

tina f. said...

The photos are on the same edge as the word columns, so no "bleed over". I was telling my sister just today that I'm jealous of her new fruit trees and how I do miss my all time favorite improved meyer lemon, blood orange, grapes, avacadoes, etc. I still have several jars of fig jam and about one gallon of lemon juice. I'm afraid to use them because I'm afraid I'll not get any more! Silly, huh. This is a whole new experience for us an I'll have to learn what/how to do gardening things. I was happy to see there are cold climate roses and lavenders. I'm looking forward to spring, whenever that may be, so I can start planting stuff!!!

Mr. H. said...

Your pictures look fine to me and a big congratulations on your first harvest...how exciting.:)

Michelle said...

The photos are fine, and the fruit is beautiful. Congrats!

Robbyn said...

Tina, I bet you'll find so many things that will grow in that climate..I can't wait to hear :) I know you'll have fun trying a lot of new things!

Mr H, thanks! it seems like the fruiting things take a lot longer to mature than the other quicker small plants...the results were worth the wait :)

Michelle, thanks! Are you much snow these days?


:) Robbyn

Michelle said...

Got our first snow of the season last night; my boy is happy! :-)

edifice rex said...

Hey! I recognize that pie plate! lol! I still get a kick out of seeing my pottery on other people's blogs!
The photos look fine on my computer, btw. and wow! on the papayas. I don't personally like the taste but it's cool ya'll can grow them.

Robbyn said...

Michelle, wooooo!!!!!

Ann, we LOVE the pie plate!! And I hate to say I have yet to make a pie in it, it's so pretty I always have fruit in it. But I SHALL inaugurate (sp?) it with a worthy dessert before all is said and done. I'm saving up to afford some more of your wonderful pottery, probably some bowls (happy sigh!)
:)

warren said...

I am so jealous! It's not as cold here as usual but absolutely nothing grows in the winter...ugh! Your fruits look awesome!

Robbyn said...

warren, thanks! I know the Baker Creek folks in the Ozarks have papaya trees that fruit in their greenhouse...maybe you'll have that sort of setup someday? I'm jealous of your bees, and can't wait to get some someday. Have you ever tried the top bar beehives? I've been wondering about them but haven't found anyone that has actually tried them.

The Art of Homemaking said...

I love to make Thai green papaya salad with those unripened papayas. Yum!

Robbyn said...

Art of Homemaking...do you have the recipe? I've never cooked with green papaya and am not sure how to handle and prepare it...would LOVE to know how! :)