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Have you treated yourself to a papaya and are wondering when preparing it whether the dark, spherical papaya seeds can be used? Many people who like to eat tropical vegetables ask themselves this question, because many of the fruit stones can be found inside the fruit. Precisely for this reason, it would be effective to be able to use them. You can find out here whether they are edible or poisonous.

Papaya Seeds: Toxic or Edible?

The answer to this question is to be answered with a "Yes". The reason lies in the different stages of ripeness of the papaya, because the content of the ingredients changes depending on the age of the harvested fruit. Immature fruits form white to light green seeds, which can lead to the following symptoms after consumption:

  • severe stomach problems
  • stomach cramps
  • Feelings of weakness in sensitive people

But this is only the case if the papayas are not yet ripe. The reason for this is the contained papain, a natural enzyme which is developed by the papaya to protect against pests. This has a strong effect on the stomach and thus causes the unpleasant pain. These symptoms can occur in adults after eating two to three kernels, in children after one kernel. Therefore, you should only eat the ripe seeds. You can recognize ripe papaya by the following characteristics:

  • Shell yields slightly when pressed with a finger
  • yellow COLOUR
  • Shell spotted and streaked with red paint

Immature fruits are green and hard, making it easy to tell them apart from the ripe ones. If you only want to use the seeds, you can even use overripe papaya. These are even softer and can be dented strongly. To avoid possible problems, you should also observe the recommended maximum daily amount of seeds:

  • Adults: maximum 15
  • Children: two to three


This way you can be on the safe side, because although the seeds of the ripe papaya are edible, they still contain small amounts of papain. You should completely avoid consuming the seeds if you are pregnant, breastfeeding or as a couple planning to have children. Due to the action of the enzyme, the following problems may occur after consumption:

  • Amniotic fluid is damaged
  • The gastrointestinal tract of the fetus or newborn becomes severely irritated
  • Men become infertile over time

Due to the anti-parasitic effect of the enzyme, the seeds have been used as a contraceptive in many peoples for centuries. The sperm count drops drastically if the seeds are taken daily for a period of at least four weeks until fertilization is no longer possible. Once you stop taking it, your sperm count will regulate itself again. Of course you can use the papaya seeds in this way as a prevention. Fetuses, on the other hand, can be permanently harmed by ingestion, while babies experience uncomfortable stomach upsets from breast milk, which can lead to more serious illnesses.

tip: If you are allergic to latex or birch pollen, you may also have a papaya cross allergy. In this case, you should carefully try a dried kernel and observe whether an allergic reaction occurs.

effect of papaya seeds

If you want to integrate papaya seeds into your diet plan, you can look forward to a variety of positive properties. If the daily dose of the ripe seeds is not exceeded, they have a purifying and draining effect on the body. Other areas of application are:

intestinal cleansing

Due to the digestive effect of papain, the intestinal flora is strengthened. The reason for this is the breakdown of proteins in food, which are subsequently converted into amino acids. This has a beneficial effect on your digestion and can even help with constipation.

killer cell production

Papaya seeds enable increased production and activation of killer cells and free radical scavengers in the body. This helps to fight harmful cells in the body, which are attacked by pathogens, for example, and only have a negative effect on the body. Radical scavengers, for example, work against the formation of cancer cells.

In addition, papaya seeds contain small amounts of valuable vitamins such as C, A and E, as well as minerals, mainly potassium and magnesium. Folic acid is also included.

Drying papaya seeds: instructions

Now that you know you have the fruit pits ripe papayas eat, you should use them in the right way. Although the kernels can be eaten raw as described above, they can be dried much longer and do not have to be used immediately. It is precisely the numerous dishes and possible uses that can be prepared with the dried fruit stones:

  • smoothie
  • porridge
  • desserts
  • pasta
  • salads

This is just a small selection of possible dishes that you can prepare with papaya seeds. Since the dried tropical fruit kernels cannot be eaten so easily due to their hardness, but are crushed, they are also easier to digest. These are dried according to the following instructions:

1. Choose ripe papaya

First select the papaya according to the criteria already mentioned above, so that you do not end up with a specimen that is poisonous. The toxins cannot be broken down by heat, so they can still get into your body after drying. So choose your fruit wisely. Fruits from organic or tropical food stores are recommended, as they are often offered at the right ripening times.

2. Cut open papaya

Cut open the carica and remove the fruit stones. Of course, you should use the pulp afterwards, for example eat it raw or process it in some other way.

3. Wash kernels

The papaya seeds must now be washed so that there is no more pulp on them. The pulp greatly delays drying and can prevent it from even drying. You can also use a soft brush for this. It takes a little longer until all the fruit stones are completely free of the pulp, but ideally they are not even covered with much of it. Then dry them thoroughly so that the drying works more effectively.

4. Prepare baking sheet

Now prepare a baking sheet and place a piece of parchment paper on it. Alternatively, you can use your dehydrator and prepare the trays for the cores.

5. Distribute cores

Now distribute the cores on the trays. After that, be careful not to get caught on the trays or tilt them too far, as the round fruit pits can easily slide off them and cause a lot of work if you have to pick them up from the floor.

6. Dry kernels

Set the oven to a temperature of 40°C to 50°C, as this is sufficient for drying. If you have a high-performance oven, it is usually enough to just turn on the light to get to this temperature. If you use a dehydrator, set it to the appropriate level. You can also simply place the trays in the direct sun for two to three days.

7. Drying time

The kernels remain in this way for two to three hours, because that's all they need to be dried. Leave the oven door ajar the entire time to allow air to circulate. This prevents the fruit stones from rotting.

8. Control

After this period of time, check the papaya seeds. These should be noticeably wrinkled and no longer shiny. If this is not the case, they should stay in the oven or dehydrator for a while.

9. Store cores

When they have finally dried sufficiently, transfer the kernels to airtight containers that can be closed well. The dried fruit stones have a very long shelf life as long as no air gets to them.

tip: As soon as you have the dried seeds available, you can use them as a pepper substitute. Ground papaya seeds are ideal for this, especially if you want a mild yet spicy aroma.

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