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Papaya (pepper)corns

by on August 28, 2009
I’ve always known that there are people who will eat a couple of the seeds of the papaya with the flesh of the fruit. I’ve tried it a couple times, but I have always found that the seeds were too pungent for my tastes. But what happens when you dry them? I did two things: I scooped half of the seeds from a medium papaya directly onto a sheet pan with parchment, and put them in the oven with the light on in an attempt to dry them out; I scooped the other half of the seeds onto a dish towel. These seeds I pressed and rolled between the layers of towel in order to break the membrane around the hard seed and release the liquid; these were then put on parchment on a sheet pan, and then in the oven. A couple of days later they were sufficiently dried.
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Fresh seeds

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Fresh seeds rolled in a dish towel

Whereas, the first half began as shiny, caviaresque beads, they now look shriveled and dried; no surprise there! The other half (that had been rolled between the towel) looked almost identical to when they were fresh, however, many of them had split open to reveal a small seed within the outer casing, like the way that a clam will open upon cooking to reveal its meat.

Results: The taste milder when dried than when fresh; the seed within the outer casing seems to be slightly oily when smashed; it definitely looks like you could crack them in a dish towel like you would for crusting a steak with peppercorns. In addition, a mortar and pestle or pepper mill would probably work well. I have yet to try infusing the flavor into anything though. Maybe a savory custard or corn pudding would benefit from the flavor. Of course, just grinding some over fresh papaya with a squeeze of lime seems justified.

Ideas to try with them: grinding like pepper, crusting a steak, making poppy seed dressing, infusions, inclusion in peppercorn blend.

Other research suggests the extracts from papaya seeds are effective as a male contraceptive (possibly due to toxicity of the large amounts digested) and as a means to rid the human intestinal tract of parasites.

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