Papaya is tropical, sweet, and delicious. It also happens to be very healthy.
Making a smoothie with the fresh fruit is a wonderful way to enjoy all the benefits of papayas, and they’re very versatile. When Christopher Columbus first came upon the papaya in Mexico, he reputedly called it “the fruit of the angels.”
Why Ginger Root?
I add ginger to my smoothie because I love sweet and spicy together in a blended drink, as well as the additional health benefits that this offers. I am a ginger fanatic!
Ginger root offers its own special type of spice, which I love. It contributes an Asian flair to anything you add it to as well, and you’ll love its wonderful fragrance.
To me, it’s not really spicy. But it does add a little kick.
This is probably because I am accustomed to eating very hot things, since I’m living in Mexico at the moment, and I grew up in California. Others might think it’s hot!
Ginger root can be red, yellow, or white inside, and all varieties are covered with skins of varying thickness, depending on their age.
Another great thing about this healthy root – it’s available year round.
Fun Ginger Facts
Although most people call this ginger root, it is technically a rhizome, which is a mass of roots.
According to Wikipedia, a rhizome is usually found below the earth, and it sends out roots and shoots from its nodes. Nodes are those tiny bumps you see on stems that support the leaves or buds that are growing.
Rhizomes are produced from the auxiliary buds (i.e. embryotic shoots located in the axle of a leaf) and they send out shoots horizontally. Then the new shoots grow upwards.
Does that make sense?
I found this out sort of by accident, when I tried putting some leftover ginger in a pot with soil (with the bud part facing down) to see what sort of plant it would grow.
Not only did it grow, but when I changed the soil I found the small piece of ginger that I planted had developed into a beautiful, fresh, large piece!
So you can just keep replanting and re-growing pieces of ginger. Pretty cool idea, no? I love the idea of re-growing produce in your own home from food scraps.
This worked for me in Buenos Aires, Argentina where the weather is sub-tropical, but your ability to grow it might depend on your local climate. Read more about growing your own ginger on our sister site, Gardener’s Path.
Additional Options for This Recipe
One tasty addition that I sometimes try with this is adding some oatmeal-based granola. If you choose to do this, just add a small amount, about half of a handful per serving.
Pour the granola into the blender with the rest of the ingredients, or stir it in at the end for some added texture. This will up the fiber content of your blend as well.
I would also highly recommend checking out some health-powered superfood add-ins you can throw in to enhance the nutrition and healthiness of your smoothie. They make your creation more interesting and taste great, too!
Health Benefits of Raw Papaya
Check out these fascinating health benefits of papaya, according to Well-Being Secrets:
- Helps with weight loss due to its digestive-aiding properties. Papaya contains papain, a digestive enzyme that also helps to treat sports injuries, traumas, and allergies. You will also find papain in pineapple.
- Helps to protect against colon cancer.
- Supports the cardiovascular system.
In addition to providing dietary fiber, papayas are a good source of the following:
- Vitamin A
- Vitamin C
They also contain smaller amounts of vitamin B6, iron, and calcium.
Tips for Choosing a Good Papaya
Papayas are available year round, with peak production in the summer and fall.
They’re sort of pear shaped and range from 7 to 20 inches, commonly more on the smaller side. A 7-inch papaya weighs in at about 1 pound.
If you are going to use them right away, choose papayas with reddish-orange skin. If they still have yellow patches, they will need a few more days to ripen.
Do not choose papayas that are totally green and hard. And avoid papayas that have black spots, or that are overly soft.
If they are partially yellow, allow them to ripen at room temperature for a few days. In order to speed up this process, put them in a paper bag with a banana like you would do with an avocado.
Of course, what you choose depends on the type of papaya that you’re working with as well. Some varieties may be soft enough to consume when green, or a mixture of green and yellow. Remember to gauge the consistency as well as the color of the peels.
Ripe papayas should be stored in the refrigerator and eaten within a few days.
Health Benefits of Raw Ginger
According to whfoods.org, ginger can be an excellent home remedy for various issues:
- Alleviates motion sickness symptoms, and can be especially effective for seasickness – this natural remedy is often more effective than the commercial remedies that are available.
- Alleviates gastrointestinal distress.
- Boosts the immune system.
- Improves arthritis-related problems.
- May induce cell death in ovarian cancer.
- Its antioxidant/anti-inflammatory effects help to reduce the formation of inflammatory compounds, and we all know ingesting anything that causes inflammation is not desirable. This will help to combat that.
- Natural anti-nausea remedy for morning sickness.
Ginger is not really considered an “excellent” or even a “good” source of any nutrients in particular, since it does not contain any in particularly high concentrations, and it is generally consumed in small amounts.
However, it does provide small amounts of vitamin C, magnesium, and potassium.
It’s better known as a carminative (i.e. promotes the expulsion of gas and aiding digestion), and for its previously mentioned ability to help alleviate nausea.
Ginger also contains powerful anti-inflammatory compounds known as gingerols, which may be related to its reported ability to help alleviate arthritis pain.
Tips for Choosing a Good Root
Choose fresh ginger that has smooth skin, and be sure and check that it does not exhibit any signs of mold.
If the ginger root is young, you do not have to peel it as long as you can get it clean. But because mature ginger has tougher skin, you will need to peel it off. My favorite method for doing this is to use the back of a spoon.
Look for younger ginger in your local Asian food market or natural grocery store, if you want to avoid peeling.
If you store fresh, unpeeled ginger in your refrigerator, it will keep for up to 6 months! Can you believe that?
Moisture can induce molding though, so you may want to cut it up into pieces and store it in your freezer if you’re buying in bulk. But fresh is best, in terms of nutritional content.
As a side note, I also like to make tea with ginger. Just slice it up and add hot water and a little honey, maybe some lemon juice.
This is great for alleviating cold symptoms as well! It is a very soothing and comforting tea that’s packed with flavor.
Tips & Suggestions
Although you can eat the seeds, they are rather peppery. Keep that in mind when you’re deciding if you want to remove all of them or not. This is purely up to personal taste.
You can always leave a few in when you blend them if you happen to like the taste and texture of the ground up seeds, and adjusting your use of them accordingly the next time. Experimenting is always recommended!
Try serving this smoothie in a very large glass, frosted in the freezer! There’s nothing like an icy cold sippable treat that’s good for you too. Yum! Frosted glasses also look prettier.
This is a great breakfast recipe. Or, it makes a wonderful afternoon snack or “merienda,” as we call late afternoon snacks in Argentina, the land of famously thin people… We eat dinner very late there, so perhaps this is why the merienda is so common.
The merienda is often a very light snack, sometimes something sweet. But I still feel having an afternoon snack helps to prevent you from overeating at night, whatever the contents. Better to make it something healthy, though.
Cooking By the Numbers…
Step One – Prepare Ingredients
If you want to serve your smoothie in a frosted glass, place it in the freezer before you proceed with the other steps. It will be ready by the time your smoothie is done!
Once you’ve peeled and chopped your papaya, throw it right into your blender with the ginger, milk, yogurt, honey, lime juice, vanilla, and ice.
It’s helpful to chop or grate the ginger into smaller pieces to ensure that it is blended well. Biting into a large chunk of ginger is not the most pleasant sensation, at least if you’re not expecting it!
Step Two – Blend
Blend the ingredients together until the mixture is completely smooth – no chunks of ice, ginger, or papaya!
Step Three – Serve
Pour the smoothie into your frozen glass. Once the smoothie hits, the sides will frost up beautifully.
Top with a small dash of cinnamon and, if desired, a few papaya seeds. Serve with a straw and drink immediately. Don’t let your refreshing drink melt!
If you liked this recipe, make sure to try out our breakfast- and dessert-inspired baked apple smoothie.
I hope you enjoy this recipe as much as I do, and I look forward to seeing your questions and comments in our comments section! Let us know if you have tried other variations as well.
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The staff at Foodal are not medical professionals and this article should not be construed as medical advice. Foodal and Ask the Experts, LLC assume no liability for the use or misuse of the material presented above. Always consult with a medical professional before changing your diet, or using supplements or manufactured or natural medications.
Papaya and recipe photos by Kendall Vanderslice, © Ask the Experts, LLC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. See our TOS for more details. Additional writing and editing contributed by Kendall Vanderslice. Uncredited photos: Shutterstock.
About Lori Jo Hendrix
Lori was born in southern California and currently resides in Mexico. She is an actress and model who also writes in the fields of nutrition, wellness, and cuisine. Her passions include working as a volunteer with various groups in the rescue and rehabilitation of orphaned and injured animals.