If you recall the volunteer papaya tree I mentioned before, you’ll realize its been quite a while since it first sprouted. In fact, its now been long enough to start harvesting 4-5 pound fruits from it
I’ve been working on an aquaponics system (a future post, I’m sure) that actually sits underneath this tree, so I’ve been paying very close attention to the fruit. I noticed the first (and lowest) fruit was starting to turn from a green to a golden pineapple yellow, and was making me get antsy about picking it. Yesterday, I saw a soft blemish starting, so decided the fruit was ripe enough for picking.
Taking it inside, I saw it was still almost unripe at the top, near the stem, but the lower end was well into the almost too soft stage. I decided to cut off the upper end and recycle it into eggs (feed it to the chickens). The rest needed preserving, but how?
Doing a quick search, revealed this site showing how one northerner tried to preserve a taste of the tropics. Having had dehydrated chili-lime mango before, I thought this would be a great opportunity to try the same thing with the papaya. YUM!
Here is what I did. I hate to call it a recipe, more like a process.
Dried Chili Lime Papaya Chips
- Take one large, ripe papaya. (2-3 mangoes also works,though with a different slicing method)
- Slice off the ends
- Split lengthwise
- Split each half into quarters, then each quarter into eighths.
- Using a vegetable peeler, remove the skin.
- Using the same peeler, slice each segment into thin strips
- Place the strips on your Excalibur dehydrator rack (You DO have an Excalibur now, right?)
- Lightly dust with lime powder
- Lightly (or not so lightly) dust with Everglades Heat. Alternatively, you can use dried pepper flake ground up into a powder, sort of a “home-made chili powder”. This omits the salt in the Everglades Heat
- Place in the dehydrator at 110-120 degrees Fahrenheit for 16-24 hours, more if you like them crispier.
Slicing the papaya with a vegetable peeler:
The taste is mostly chili and lime, with a faint undertone of sweetness. The Everglades Heat makes a difference, the salt really adds a level of flavor. Being a Paleo eater, these will make excellent chips for dips for me. They can also be used as a fruit base for what I call a “hurricane salsa”, a salsa made after a hurricane with only ingredients from our stored food and canned goods.
- 1 can of Rotel Mexican Lime and Cilantro
- 1/2 tbs dried minced garlic
- 1 tbs dried minced onion
- 1/4 – 1/2 cup dried mango or papaya chunks (or both!)
- 1/4 cup chopped or minced dried sweet peppers
- 1-2 tbs lime powder
- 1 tbs (or more) dried jalapenos, habaneros, or crushed red pepper flakes for heat
Combine all ingredients, making sure all of the dehydrated items are about pea-sized, and covered by liquid. Add water if needed, the lime powder will turn into more lime juice that way. Let it sit 3-4 hours to rehydrate in the liquid. For a better flavor, allow it to sit overnight. Amounts are rough guidelines based on MY preference, adjust as needed.
I usually place my dried fruit into canning jars and then vacuum seal them with my Foodsaver. This is assuming you have any left over after you’ve pulled them out of the dehydrator. While writing this I’ve almost eaten half of the jar pictured !
This one papaya completely filled my 9 rack dehydrator (15 square feet!). From the looks of the papaya and mango trees, I’ll be running the dehydrator non-stop all summer long