How Does Papain Tenderize Meat?
History of Use Papain is an enzyme derived from the milky sap (also called latex) of the raw, unripe Carica papaya, a large, pear-shaped fruit that is native to Central and South America. The greener the papaya, the more effective and active are the papain enzymes. The enzymes lose their strength as the fruit ripens and are inactive when it is fully ripe. For centuries the indigenous peoples in those areas slashed the unripe papaya to drain and collect the sap and used it to marinate and tenderize their meat. Other tenderizing methods used were wrapping meat in papaya leaves or hanging freshly killed game animals in the papaya tree branches overnight. In the U.S., papain is a main component in Adolph’s Meat Tenderizer. Properties Papain enzymes tenderize meat in a similar way as using a meat mallet works, only there’s no physical exertion involved. Meat cuts around the arms and legs of the animal that are exercised frequently are tough because they contain long collagen, keratin and co