A few years ago when I started eating healthier I decided to buy a papaya from the grocery store. For some reason when I cut it open it smelled like barf to me. I don’t know if it wasn’t ripe yet or was starting to go bad, but I forced myself to take one bite of it and immediately threw it away. I didn’t dare touch a papaya again until recently. Since my first encounter with a papaya I have also read multiple times that they are one of the most common genetically modified crops in the United States. This was fine by me because I wan’t planning on buying one anyway (Well, I am not okay with any genetically modified crops, but I didn’t feel like I was missing out because I thought that they were so disgusting).
Then comes Instagram. One of life dreams is to live somewhere tropical where I can grow mangoes, bananas, and passion fruit in my backyard. So I obviously follow quite a few Instagrammers that live in tropical places that post pictures of the abundance of fruit that they eat (A few favorites: ellenfisher, earthyandy, and ohdeardrea). One fruit that I have seen over and over again is papayas and all of a sudden I was dying to try one again. Maybe, just maybe, the first papaya that I purchased was just a fluke accident and papayas were actually incredibly delicious. There was only one problem: papayas are one of the most common genetically modified crops in the United States.
I continued to eye the papayas at the grocery store, but I never pruchased one until one day while I was shopping at Trader Joe’s I found an ORGANIC papaya. I was so beyond excited that I would be able to try a papaya again without having to worry about GMOs. This time around I had such a wildly different experience than my first papaya. This papaya was delicious!
I couldn’t wait to go Trader Joe’s again the next week to buy another organic papaya, but to my horror they didn’t have any for sale the next week. Or the week after, or the week after that. I was really craving another papaya so I decided to do some research. There had to be some way that I could eat a conventionally grown papaya without it being genetically modified! Luckily, there is!
How to Choose a Non-GMO Papaya:
- Buy certified organic papayas. This is the best way to ensure that you are avoiding a genetically engineered crop and pesticides. Unfortunately, organic papayas can be hard to find.
- Avoid genetically modified varieties of papayas. Rainbow, Sun Up Strawberry, and Sunrise papayas are all genetically modified. Non-GMO varieties include Kapoho, Mexican Red, Caribbean Red, Maradol, Royal Star, Singapore Pink, and Higgins papayas.
- Choose papayas that are grown in Mexico, Brazil, Belize, or Asia. All papayas that are grown in Hawaii may be contaminated with GMOs due to cross contamination.
Papayas are a delicious and nutrient rich food, so stop avoiding the papaya and just know how to pick the right one.