Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Papaya, the meat tenderizer?

My last post about papaya being a meat tenderizer, got a lot of comments.

Papaya has an enzyme found in both its fruit and leaves called papain. You won't find it in the spice or herb section of the grocery store.

The enzyme is a protease, that is, it breaks down protein. It's why papayas are great for people watching their weight.

It is often used as a meat tenderizer. You can marinate tough meat with chunks of papaya, or wrap meat in papaya leaves. But using too much, or leaving it on the meat too long, can make meat soft and mushy. The heat from cooking the meat will stop the enzyme action, so don't cook soon after the marination has started.

For a great papaya marinated meat dish.

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