I passed this strange fruit at the market – split open and calling for my tongue. I had no idea what this exotic fruit was.
Papausa is a prehispanic fruit found in Chiapas seasonally around the end of July through September. It is similar to a guanabana but smaller. It’s light green scaly skin covers fleshy fruit surrounding large, dark brown seeds. Though it is unique as when it ripens, it cracks open and must be eaten quickly before spoiling. The flesh is mildly sweet with a light floral flavor. There are two varieties, one with white flesh and another that is light pink inside.
Besides being tasty, it is said to have cancer fighting properties and “antiviral, antibacterial, larvicidal and phytotoxic properties.” (El Siglo de Torreón)
The latin name for the papausa is Annona macroprophyllata. However, there are many other name and spelling variations.
ALSO KNOW AS
- ilama (which is also used for the chincuya)
HOW TO USE IT
- The flesh of the fruit is eaten raw. Be sure to pick out the large seeds.
WHERE TO FIND IT
Native to Central America, you will find this in the Mexican states of Chiapas, Oaxaca and Guerrero, as well as coastal regions of Guatemala and El Salvador.
HOW TO CHOOSE & STORE IT
When ripe, this fruit oddly splits wide open. Ask your vendor for a fruit that has freshly opened and eat it right away. Because the fruit is split open, it will only last a night or two on the counter. However, beware that it may attract ants or fruit flies.