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Yes, papaya seeds are edible. Peppery, sharp and somewhat astringent, these glistening black orbs are an acquired taste. They may be used as a substitute for black pepper, sprinkled on food as a garnish, or added to fruit salad for zip. (Check out the Fruit Peacock recipe. It calls for two measly seeds, so you’ll have lots left for other uses.) Rinse the seeds, let them dry, then use them raw or toasted. Papaya seeds are also useful in quick marinades because the papaya plant contains an enzyme called papain, a powerful meat tenderizer. (Don’t marinate overnight if using papain – you don’t want your meat to turn to mush.) Papaya seeds are perhaps best known in the world of folk medicine. They are considered a digestive aid, anti-parasitic agent and rash remedy. How to toast papaya seeds, pg. 229 in 12,167 Kitchen and Cooking Secrets.

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12,167 Kitchen and Cooking Secrets

Paperback, 704 pages
Publisher: Robert Rose

In thousands of entries on every aspect of cooking and baking, Susan Sampson provides expert information that is indispensable in any kitchen, including: keeping produce safe from spoilage, protecting equipment from nasty bacteria, shortcuts, embellishments, restaurant tricks, presentation tips, party planning and recipe development.

Whether just browsing or desperately trying to solve a vexing emergency, every home cook will treasure this book.

Susan Sampson (a.k.a. The Fare Lady) is an award-winning food writer and recipe developer who lives in Toronto.