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Hello from Bali!Dane and I are now on our honeymoon in the sunny, ever warm, beautiful Indonesia. I still cant believe the whirlwind of emotions, memories, and people, that have surrounded me and eventually led me to this tranquil and vibrant island. The Balinese are such friendly people, smiling and waving, with eyes full of happiness. To my surprise they are much more open than the fellow tourists we sit next to at the beach or at the local restaurant. Each Balinese connection brings me inner happiness.
Along with the friendly people, and beautiful surroundings, comes the sweet nectar of the tropics-the vibrant tropical fruits, papaya, mangosteen, and passion fruit. Dane and I savor every bite, knowing that too soon we will have to return to our homegrown Washington apples. Not that these aren’t delicious, they are just not as exciting.
You would think from the name of my blog, that perhaps you would find more papaya recipes tucked away in the recipe archive. Sadly, it is not often that I get to devour my favorite fruit as it is expensive and rare in the Pacific Northwest. However, lucky for me the papaya is in abundance! Now, I get to treat Dane and myself to daily papaya smoothies, salads, and breakfast bowls. Oh papaya, how I love the!
Papaya is vibrant in color and buttery in texture. The flavor is lightly sweet with musky undertones that come alive with a spritze of lime. Besides being rich in antioxidants beta-carotene, the pigment that gives papaya a deep red-orange color, and vitamin C, it is unique in the fact that it contains papain and chymopapain- enzymes that digest proteins. These enzymes help ease digestive upset, reduce inflammation, and may support the healing of sport injuries (1). Often, the elderly or those suffering from digestive distress, cannot digest dietary proteins easily due to a lack of enzyme production or a decrease HCL secretion in the stomach. Therefore, papaya can offer digestive relief, aiding in protein breakdown. Papaya is also often used in Bali in natural spas, acting as a moisturizer in baths, or used as part of a facial. In addition papaya, just like pineapple, can act like a meat tenderizer for your next summer BBQ.
Today, I use papaya along with anti-inflammatory roots, ginger and turmeric. Once again, here in Bali, fresh turmeric and ginger root are in abundance and very cheap. Back home, they can be a bit more pricey, especially turmeric. However, along with fresh papaya, these roots can make a smoothie into a health elixir. Ginger has been known to act as a carminative, easing digestive upset, nausea, and relieving gas. The bioactive compounds found in ginger, aid in the absorption and transport of the nutrients found in foods, especially that of oils and proteins which take longer to digest (2). Both ginger and turmeric have powerful anti-inflammatory properties, reducing pain, swelling, and inflammation (2). Turmeric, also is known as a powerful antimicrobial and anticancer agent. In traditional medicinal practices, turmeric has been used to prevent infection of open wounds, and has been used topically for acne and skin rashes. Curcumin, the bioactive found in turmeric, has also proven to be a powerful antioxidant, quenching free radicals, and preventing their consequential damage to cell membranes (2). Simply put, these two roots, offer an immune boosting punch.
With that being said, here is my delicious Balian Papaya Elixir Smoothie. This one is for the books. Trust me. If you can get your hands on some fresh papaya, ginger and turmeric, make this. And if you like things a bit more potent (and spicy) add more ginger and turmeric to taste. BE CAREFUL WHEN CUTTING FRESH TURMERIC BECAUSE IT STAINS (as you can see my nails are a bit yellow)!!
PS. I used sweetened soy milk because that is all they had at the local market. If you prefer unsweetened soy milk, add 2 teaspoons of you sweetener of choice (honey, maple syrup, coconut sugar, etc). Just take note that the flavor profile may be different depending on the sweetener you use.
Balian Papaya Elixir Smoothie
Makes 2 large glasses
Juice of 3 small limes
Juice of 1 large orange
~ 1 1/2 inches of turmeric root, peeled and minced
~ 1 1/2 inches of ginger root, peeled and minced
2-3 cups peeled and cubed papaya
1 cup sweetened soy milk
Pinch of sea salt
Handful ice cubes
Add all the ingredients, except the ice cubes, into a high speed blender. Blend until smooth. Add the ice cubes and once again blend until smooth. Share and enjoy!