Papaya is a tropical plant that can reach as tall as 30 feet, producing between 100 to 200 lbs. of fruit, according to Texas A&M University. Papayas are good for you and can potentially lower the risk of many diseases, including heart disease and colon cancer. In addition, one papaya can exceed the daily recommended dose of Vitamin C and is also rich in Vitamin A and Vitamin E, all of which are beneficial antioxidants. One way to preserve fresh papayas is to dry them. Then, you can enjoy them and reap their benefits year-round, even when they are not in season.
Wash your papaya under running water. Scrub the outside gently with a vegetable brush. It’s best to have a kitchen scrub brush that you use to clean the dishes and another for your fruits and vegetables.
Peel the papaya. Use a vegetable peeler or sharp knife, being careful not to cut yourself..
Slice the papaya in half and scoop out the seeds, which can be used in salad dressings, if desired.
Slice the papaya into thin pieces, approximately 1/4 inch thick.
Lay the papaya slices in one layer on a cookie sheet.
Bake the slices in the oven set at 100 degrees Fahrenheit for up to 12 hours. Alternatively, set them outdoors in the sunlight. This works well if you have a screened-in area free from pests and animals.
Check on your papaya slices in about six hours. Then, check on them every hour. When they are dry and crisp without any water, they are ready to be stored in an airtight container, out of direct light.
Melissa Lewis is a former elementary classroom teacher and media specialist. She has also written for various online publications. Lewis holds a Bachelor of Arts in psychology from the University of Maryland Baltimore County.