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Did You Know? - Pineapples & Papaya

Teresa Kendrick

Did you know that peanuts, vanilla, guavas, tomatoes, some forty different chiles, avocados, and papayas originally came from Mexico?

Pineapple also grew wild in Mexico, as well as Peru and along the Orinoco River in South America, but it was through Mexico that the pineapple became cultivated throughout the world. Explorers found the fruit in Mexico and presented it to Spain’s Carlos V, and by 1549 pineapple was being grown commercially in China.

The papaya also went to Spain with the conquistadors who introduced it to the rest of the world. Well-known in Mexico, the papaya is still sometimes referred to as " melón zapote" and revered for its flavor and many healing properties. Among its several varieties, the fruit is most often eaten alone or with a squeeze of lime juice. It can also be made into preserves by adding lemon and sugar to the ripe fruit. Green, or unripened fruit, is pickled and eaten in salads. It is widely known that papaya contains papain, a substance identical to digestive compounds produced by the pancreas. It is less well-known that papain is used to clarify beer, bleach fabrics, tenderize meats and in the treatment of herniated discs.

The tree’s flowers are made into compounds to treat bronchitis and other problems of the trachea. The tree’s leaves can be used as a soap substitute and its sap is a good remedy for intestinal parasites. Alkaloids from the tree’s bark can be deadly as they act as systemic paralytic agents.

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This Did you Know provided by Teresa Kendrick.
 

Published or Updated on: January 1, 2006 by Teresa Kendrick © 2008
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