Is Thanksgiving dinner tried-and-true or innovative and creative?
Mary Ostlund, director of marketing for Brooks Tropicals in Homestead, FL,
told The Produce News that while it is nice to know the green bean casserole
will always be there, she likes a touch of the unexpected at a festive meal.
"I find converting traditionalists to my way of thinking works best when the
must-have menu items appear on the table with just a little tweak to them,"
she said. “So whether someone is hosting the dinner or bringing a dish to
another home this year, they should think about mixing it up a bit. And
there's no better way to splash some sunshine onto a holiday table than with
Ms. Ostlund said that Brooks’ “Caribbean Red” brand papayas from Belize are
becoming more well known among consumers for their high quality and
flavor. Consumers are also learning the importance of reducing the amount of
sugar in their diets — and substituting papaya for sugar- and fructose-loaded
processed foods — is a great way to do so without sacrificing flavor.
“Papayas are between 10 and 12 on the Brix scale,” said Ms. Ostlund. “The
mild flavor does not hide other flavors but rather integrates nicely with them.
Part of the Thanksgiving celebration is to talk about the foods on the table
and what is in them. Adding and substituting papaya will certainly help to
create an interesting conversation.”
An added benefit is that papayas are plentiful this time of year. And because
of their large size, one papaya can go a long way and end up being a cost-
effective ingredient when feeding a large crowd.
“What I also like is that they can be used in a multitude of ways, from a
savory-flavored recipe to dessert. And not to be overlooked is the drop-dead
gorgeous color they add to any dish,” said Ms. Ostlund.
One of the suggestions Brooks Tropicals makes is to top turkey stuffing with
diced papaya to add color to what is typically a drab-looking dish and to add a
hint of sweetness.
“Gently stir in finely diced papaya to homemade cranberry relish,” Ms. Ostlund
suggested. “It adds a nice texture and, again, offers that beautiful color. Mash
pureed papaya into mashed potatoes for a creamier texture and a bit of
“Papaya apple pie is a terrific version of the traditional baker’s classic that will
please even the die-hard apple pie fans,” she continued.
Brooks Tropicals has created a colorful marketing brochure with suggestions
on how to use papaya in Thanksgiving dishes. The brochure, which features
recipes and beautiful photos of finished dishes, is being distributing to media
outlets across the country.