Candied Papaya with heat

I’m discovering just how versatile and wonderful papaya can be. Peppers add a dimension and flavor to candied papaya that has me so excited! I’ve started seed for the next round of growing and they are heavy on the hot side to take advantage of this new way of making delicious papaya preserves.

This candied papaya is made with heavy syrup, vanilla, and cinnamon. It’s reminiscent of cooked apples and is delicious with any white cheese, ice cream, or custard. The colors are varied from different stages of fruit ripening. I select a range of shades from the green papaya to add beauty to the finished product.

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Jalapeno is simply delicious candied, and the combination of green papaya cut into a perfect bite for snacking or a cracker topping (think pepper jelly without the mess) makes this preserve a winning combination. The flavors are bumped up with mustard and celery seeds with some turmeric, “cowboy candy” style. It has a smoky warm heat that doesn’t sting right away but builds into a nice warm mouthfeel that’s not overpowering and dissipates before the next bite.

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Serrano, smaller and slightly hotter than the jalapeno is just what I wanted for its appearance. It does not have large cavities and it’s density packs well with smaller cuts of papaya. This is simply candied small bits of papaya, crosscuts of the serrano pepper with a touch of food coloring to illustrate the nice green fresh flavor. This has a warm, more intense smoky flavor on the tarter green side, which builds into a noticeably warmer but not quite too hot mouthfeel. Perfect with nachos, quesadillas, any cheesy dish, or top grilled fish or chicken with it. Serrano papaya preserve is just so versatile.

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Habanero, the star of the heat Scoville index, has looks, heat, color, and flavor. We have one variety of papaya that displays a glorious orange-gold color as it begins to ripen. I chose the fruit from that tree to pair with the orange-red habanero. The fruit is still firm and unripe so it’s the perfect texture and color for this variation. This combination was created for those who just love a burst of sweet heat and flavor for the fun of it. The pieces are a perfect mouth-pop. The heat is immediate, sharper, and hotter.

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Heat and flavor will build with time, but I don’t think these will be around long enough for that. I made simple ham on bread sandwiches just to try these out with a meal. It was perfectly delicious.

I hope you’ll try them and let me know the creative ways you’ve used them.

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