Latin ingredient of the week: Papaya for the perfect breakfast (RECIPE)

Being home for Thanksgiving this past weekend gave me a chance to catch up with family while also enjoying one of my all-time favorite breakfasts: batida de lechoza (a papaya milk shake)

My mom has started gardening a lot in the past year and the happiest moment came when I arrived home and she greeted me with fresh papayas from her tree. Immediately I knew that I'd soon be enjoying my favorite Latin milk shake for breakfast and, well, a daily snack. But how do you make it and, most importantly, how do you pick out a ripe papaya to enjoy?

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Papayas are spherical fruit that is ripe when the green flesh turns a yellow color while the insides become a rich orange. However, it can also be eaten while raw--a practice that I first discovered in a delicious Thai papaya salad. I've always had papaya in a fruit salad or a shake instead and I've always enjoyed it tons. 

What I never realized, though, is that papayas have an enzyme called papain which helps digest proteins and is sometimes used in dietary supplements. Plus papaya has 300 percent of your daily Vitamin C and it's also high in Vitamin A, folate, potassium and fiber. Really, papayas are great for you--which makes me feel even better about having them for breakfast.

Batida de Lechoza (Papaya Milk Shake)

Ingredients:
3 cups papaya (fresh or frozen, cut into cubes)
1 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
4 cups (32 ounces) evaporated milk
2 1/2 cups ice cubes

Get the full recipe directions from About.com.

Images via Thinkstock, Reeding/flickr

Topics: latin fruit  latin ingredient of the week  breakfast recipes