Papaya is available nearly year round here in Puerto Rico. Unlike Hawaiian varieties, Caribbean papaya tend to be large…2 pounds or more is not uncommon. It’s a versatile fruit that can be used in all its stages of ripeness.
Drizzle lime juice over slices of fresh ripe papaya for a cool and refreshing breakfast…so good and loaded with vitamins and minerals. Over fluffy pancakes papaya jam is to die for. Green papaya makes a terrific chutney as piquant as you dare and even a pickled salad Filipino style. A popular dish in the Polynesian South Pacific is lo’i lesi. Its a papaya filled with coconut milk, a little cinnamon and raw sugar. Then it is wrapped in banana leaves and baked in an umu (underground oven). What a treat! Like pudding. Polynesians also use shredded green papaya to tenderize lamb, beef, giant clams, octopus and conch.
This jam is even better with a few of the seeds thrown in. The seeds become tender and have a slight peppery flavor when cooked. They add a little more character to the jam, at least in appearance.
Papaya doesn’t have alot of pectin and needs acid inorder to jell. Lime juice goes very nicely with sweet ripe papaya. You can cook it for a long time to get it to jell but you lose so much flavor and compromise the bright colors. Again, if you’ve read my other tropical jam posts, tropical fruits are delicate in flavor so over cooking is definitely a no, no.
Papaya is available in major stateside supermarkets so do try this jam. Don’t forget to make a few jars for gift baskets.
- 4 cups of ripe papaya flesh
- 1 Tbsp papaya seeds
- juice of 2 large limes (about 1/4 cup and reserve the juiced peels)
- 4 cups granulated sugar
- 1 pouch Certo Liquid Pectin
- Wash jars in hot soapy water, rinse well, sterilize in boiling water for 10 minutes and keep jars warm until ready to fill.
- Juice the limes. Slice, chop or grind the lime peels with the pips and pith, place in a small sauce pan with 1 cup water. Bring to a boil, then simmer for 20 minutes. Remove from heat, strain, pushing against the pulp to extract the pectin. Cool the natural pectin and add to the lime juice.
- Wash papaya thoroughly. Slice off blossom end and stem end and slice down middle of fruit. Remove the seeds and stringy flesh with a spoon, reserve one tablespoon of seeds. Remove the flesh with a spoon and coursely chop or mash until you have 4 cups. You want some texture.
- In a heavy-bottomed sauce pan place papaya flesh, lime juice mixture and sugar .
- Stirring constantly to dissolve sugar, bring to a boil, add the reserved seeds and cook 15 minutes over medium high heat. Raise the heat and bring to a full-roiling boil (a boil that cannot be stirred down).
- Remove from heat and stir in Certo liquid pectin. Return to high heat and bring back to a roiling boil for 1 minute. Remove and let set for 3-5 minutes. If a skin forms and wrinkles when pushed it has reached the jell stage. If no skin forms return to heat and cook another 5 minutes. Repeat jell test.
- Drain warm jars, fill to within 1/4-inch of rim, wipe rims and seal. Bring water-bath to a full boil. Water should be 1-inch or more above jars. Process jars for 10 minutes. Remove jars to a draft-free area and cool. Check seals. Store in a cool, dark, damp-free pantry. Refrigerate once opened.