There are very few ways to eat papaya seeds. Sadly, if you’re just throwing them out, you’re missing out on lots of great nutrients. Luckily, I have discovered that dried papaya seeds make a perfect black pepper substitute. You can mix them with peppercorns or use them solo out of their own pepper grinder.
The Discarded Papaya Seeds
Let’s be honest. Papaya seeds are very bitter and can be hard to choke down. Their flavor is very bitter, and they are quite crunchy in texture. Unless you love pepper, they are likely to activate the gag reflex if you eat them raw. (Of course, this claim discounts everyone that’s grown up in the jungle eating papaya with seeds since infancy.)
For many, the only known alternative is to you blend the seeds into a smoothie (in moderation!). This is a great option…except you probably don’t want papaya seeds in every smoothie. As well, you can only use a little. Otherwise, your smoothie tastes like pepper.
As a result, most people throw out papaya seeds and only eat the fruit.
Yet, if you’re tossing those papaya seeds, you’re really missing out. They are rich in oleic and palmitic fatty acids, which are believed to ward off cancer. In Latin America, people eat them to help protect the body from insect borne diseases, such as dengue. Furthermore, traditional Chinese medicine recommends them for liver detoxification.
Making Dried Papaya Seeds
If you want to take advantage of the health benefits of papaya seeds, I would recommend making a pepper substitute out of them. This is a very simple process, which I’ve outlined below. Once you have your dried papaya seeds, you can mix them with peppercorns in a pepper grinder. They truly blend well with the pepper taste, allowing you to sprinkle them on salads, eggs, and most meals. Of course, feel free to fill an empty grinder with dried papaya seeds and eat them on their own in place of pepper.
Step 1 – Cut papaya in half, and scoop out the seeds using a spoon.
Step 2 – Place seeds in a bowl of water to rinse, and gently pick out excess pulp.
Step 3 – Save pulp for smoothies. If a few seeds are lodged in there, don’t worry about picking them out.
Step 4 – Drain the seeds in colander.
Step 5 – Distribute on paper towel and leave to dry for about 1 hour or longer. Pick out last bits of pulp when done.
Step 6 – Place the papaya seeds in a oven-safe dish. Place dish in oven, preheated at 160 degrees Fahrenheit. Leave for 15 minutes, then turn off oven and leave for an additional 30 minutes.
Step 7 – Remove from oven and make sure seeds are dry and feel hard. Repeat Step 6 in half the time, if necessary.
Step 8 – Pour into an empty pepper grinder or mix with existing peppercorns.
Enjoy anywhere you’d sprinkle freshly ground pepper!
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