Where Does Papain Come From?
Papain comes from the papaya, a tropical fruit that is about 6 inches long and can range from 1-20 pounds in weight, depending on the variety. Inside, the papaya has silky smooth, orange-yellow flesh and a large center cavity full of shiny grayish-black seeds. The flesh is juicy and has a subtle, sweet-tart or musky taste, somewhat like a cantaloupe.Papaya is now widely cultivated in tropical and subtropical countries. There are about 45 species of papaya. The most common variety in the United States is the Solo papaya, which is grown in Hawaii and Florida. Mexican papayas are much larger than the Hawaiian types and may be more than 15 inches long.To extract papain latex from a papaya, the skin of an unripe papaya is cut. After the latex is collected, it is dried either by the sun or in ovens and sold in powdered form.