Papaya is a tropical fruit that is orange in color. The flesh inside of the papaya is sweet. And the seeds inside are as edible as the flesh. Most people wonder if papaya is easy to cut.
The reason for this is they haven’t cut one before. And it may seem more difficult than it is. So, today we are diving into how to cut a papaya. We will show you how cutting a papaya is easier than you think.
But first, let's explore a few things about a papaya.
What Does A Fresh Papaya Taste Like?
ya taste like a cross of ripe melon or mango, and cantaloupe. It is one of the few fruits that is commonly eaten both when ripe and unripe. When green, papaya has a tart, peppery flavor that is often used in salads. As it ripens, the papaya becomes sweeter and more mellow with a bright orange flesh. Ripe papayas are often used in desserts or as a breakfast fruit.
Papaya contains an enzyme called papain which can tenderize meat. It is also a good source of vitamins A and C. Papaya can be eaten fresh or cooked.
When is Papaya Season?
While some varieties of papaya are available all year long, peak season is between early summer and fall. Therefore, papaya will be more abundantly available and cheaper during that time of the year.
However, since papayas are imported from destinations like Hawaii, Puerto Rico, and Central and South America, it isn’t surprising that you can find a papaya at any time of the year. Those destinations have the perfect climate for growing papayas year-round.
Just remember, the best tasting papayas will only be available during peak season.
How Do You Know When a Papaya is Ripe to Cut?
The first thing you must know before cutting a papaya is whether it is ripe to cut. There is nothing worse than cutting into an unripe papaya!
When papayas are ripening, their skin will turn from green to yellow. A ripe papaya might be bright orange on the outside, and a deep orange flesh on the inside. When the fruit is also slightly soft to the touch (but not mushy), it is ripe.
Do not wait too long to cut a ripe papaya. Overripe papayas will be mushy and taste bland.
If your papayas are not ripe when you bring them home, you can normally get them to ripen in a couple days. While the best method is to let your papayas ripen naturally on the counter, you can speed things up by placing them in a paper bag. Adding an apple to the bag will make the papaya ripen even faster.
If your papayas are ripening too quickly, or you have been blessed with an abundance of papayas, you can slow the ripening process down. Simply place the papayas in the refrigerator for up to a week.
How to Cut A Papaya
Cutting a papaya isn’t too difficult. There are steps you must follow though if you want your papaya to look nice when you eat it. First, dry it with a clean paper towel so it's easier to handle and will stay put on your cutting board. Prepare your counter with an extra large cutting board and a sharp chefs knife.
Related: check out our entire collection of wood cutting boards here.
Step 1: Peel the Papaya
Since you probably still want to know how to cut a papaya, the next step would be peeling the fruit. Hold the fruit at one end and run your knife down the underside of the skin. Try your best not to slice too deeply or you will lose some of the flesh.
You can also use a vegetable peeler works well here to remove the skin.
Step 2: Cut the Papaya In Half
The very first thing you must do is slicing the papaya in half lengthwise. It is best to use a very sharp knife to do this. You want to be able to do this in one full swipe. (Try our made-in-USA Chef Knife for this!).
Pro tip: A very large cutting board (like this one) would also be helpful here - once it's cut in half the seeds might spill out and create a little bit of a mess.
Step 3: Separate the Papaya in Two Sections
Now that your papaya is sliced in half the long way, you will be able to separate it in half. You will be able to see all the edible seeds on the inside of both papaya halves.
Step 4: Scoop Out the Seeds with a Large Serving Spoon
It is best to use a spoon to scoop the seeds from the inside of the papaya. The seeds have a strong flavor. The taste is similar to mustard or peppercorns. So, feel free to eat a few during this process. I like to do this right over the trash barrel - hold the papaya standing up so the feeds fall right into the barrel as you scoop downwards.
Step 5: Cut it Up or Eat it With a Spoon!
At this step, you can literally start eating it with a spoon, or simply use a melon ball scoop and make papaya balls! If you want you can use your knife to cut it into slices, wedges, or cubes. You can cut these as thin or thick as you like. Optional: spritz a little lime juice over it and enjoy!
How to Store Cut Papaya
Storing cut papaya is simple. All you need to do is follow the directions above and cut your papaya. Then place the slices, wedges, or cubes into an airtight container. The container then goes straight into the refrigerator.
Your cut papaya should last in the refrigerator for up to a week. Keep an eye on it though, because it can turn mushy like other fruits. Eat the papaya before it loses its firmness for the best taste.
If you cannot eat all your cut papaya before it goes bad, place it in the freezer. It works best to place cut papaya in heavy-duty freezer bags for storage. Make sure the bags are zipped completely and all the air is out.
Frozen papaya should last for a year if it is stored properly.
There are so many ways to use papaya. Yes, you can eat the fruit on its own. However, papaya also tastes delicious when added to fruit salad or even a green salad. Another option is to add papaya to a smoothie.
You can even place a wedge of papaya on a popsicle stick and freeze for an instant popsicle. Or blend the papayas with other fruit to make them smooth and make popsicles that way.
There are dozens of recipes to using papayas too. Some of those recipes include papaya salsa and papaya appetizers.
Using Papaya in Products
Does anyone else remember this scene, or is that just us....? :-)
One of the more unique ways to use papaya is by making a natural conditioner. Blend together papaya, yogurt, banana, and coconut oil. Use the thick paste as a conditioner on damp hair. Let it sit for a few minutes and rinse out with warm water.
You can even use papaya as a face mask.
Why Does Papaya Have a Strong Taste and Odor?
You may want to use the different ways we mentioned above to eat your papaya, because it does have a strong taste and odor. This strong taste is from the leaves within the papaya plant. Those leaves contain a chemical called malic acid.
The horrendous odor of an unripe papaya is caused by an enzyme known as papain. This enzyme is not as noticeable to many people once the papaya is ripe. However, some people can still smell it. The enzyme will help your body digest foods more easily. So, there is something good about it when you finally decide to eat a papaya.
Can You Eat Papaya Skin?
There is one last question we always get from people when they are learning how to cut a papaya. It is, “Can you eat papaya skin?”.
The answer to that question is yes and no. The skin of a papaya is safe to eat. However, eating too much of the skin will be very hard on your digestive system. It can also be irritating, especially to those people who have ulcers or sensitive stomachs.
This is everything you need to know about papayas, including how to cut one. So, use your newfound skills on how to cut a papaya and start to indulge on this delicious fruit a little more often! You won’t be disappointed.
Different Types of Papaya
There are at least a dozen papaya varieties growing around the world. Your favorite grocery store may only sell one or two varieties of papaya. If you venture to other stores in your neighborhood, or vacation in areas where papayas grow, you will find other varieties to try.
Today, we will be sharing some of the papaya varieties you may discover on your hunt for the perfect papaya.
The Mexican Red papaya is also known as the Yellow papaya. This is one of the larger papayas. These papayas are available throughout the year. They have a sweet yellow colored flesh.
This variety of papaya is also called the Strawberry papaya. The flesh is red orange. It has a shallow seed cavity, which makes it simple to remove the seeds quickly. You can also find this papaya variety year-round.
This is one of the smaller papaya varieties. It was first grown at the University of Hawaii. The flesh is orange and red, as is the skin. This is one of the papayas that has a longer shelf life.
You will find the Bettina papaya over in Queensland in Australia. There aren’t too many seeds in this papaya. And since it is easy to grow, they are often available in abundant quantities.
This papaya can be found over in Western Australia. The shape of the Guinea Gold papaya is like a pear. It has a yellow peel, as well as flesh. It takes this variety of papaya 15-18 months to ripen enough to be picked.
The Hortus Gold papaya is grown in South Africa. The skin and flesh are bright yellow. These papayas can get quite heavy. It is common for one to weigh between 3 and 4 pounds.
This is another papaya variety that was created at the University of Hawaii. This is one of the papayas with a higher sugar content.
The Waimanalo papaya is only grown on the island of Oahu. This is one of the smaller varieties of papaya. This papaya can be grown and ripe enough to pick in 9 months.
Are papayas good for you?
Papayas are not only delicious but also nutritious. They are a good source of vitamins C and E, as well as fiber. Papayas also contain carotenoids, which are beneficial for eye health.
Can you eat papaya seeds?
Papaya seeds are black in color and are found in the center of the papaya fruit. Many people wonder if you can eat papaya seeds and the answer is yes, you can! Papaya seeds are edible and have a slightly peppery taste. You can add them to salads or smoothies for a nutritional boost.
How to Eat Green Papaya
Green papayas are unripe papayas. They are tart and tangy, with a texture similar to a cucumber. To eat a green papaya, first wash the fruit. Cut it in half lengthwise and scoop out the seeds. Eat the fruit raw, or cook it in soups or stir-fries.
If you go to a Thai or Vietnamese restaurant, you might see "Papaya Salad" on the menu - they're using green papayas for this dish.