Papayas add a tropical touch to an everyday fruit salad or as the base for a refreshing smoothie. The light sweet flavor is reminiscent of a melon, but is mild enough for both sweet and savory dishes. A ripe papaya has a yellow-green peel that gives slightly under gentle pressure. Cut and prepare papayas for serving only after they ripen fully and develop their best flavor. Although it's best to serve a papaya immediately after peeling and slicing, you can store it for later if necessary.
Things You'll Need
- Cutting board
- Vegetable peeler
- Storage container or bag
Wash the papaya in cool running water before slicing. Cutting into an unwashed papaya can transfer dirt and bacteria on the peel to the fruit inside.
Slice each narrow end off the papaya. Stand it upright on a cutting board. Remove the outer peel in long strips with a vegetable peeler or paring knife, working from the top of the papaya down to the bottom.
Cut the papaya in half lengthwise with a sharp knife. Scoop out the pulpy center, which contains the seeds, from each half with a spoon. Discard the seeds or use them in a peppery-flavored salad dressing. Cut the peeled fruit into cubes or strips, as desired.
Place the cut papaya into an airtight food storage container or zip-close bag. For long-term storage, use a bag or container safe for freezer use. Push as much air as possible out of the bag before sealing it.
Store the papaya for up to three days in a 33- to 40-degree Fahrenheit refrigerator. Store it at 0 F in the freezer for up to 12 months. Frozen papaya won't spoil, but the flavor will degrade over longer storage periods. Thaw it overnight in the refrigerator before use.
Tips & Warnings
- Whole, unwashed papayas store for up to a week in a sealed bag in the fridge. If the peel is still green and the fruit underripe, store it at room temperature for two to three days first so it can finish ripening.
- Papayas are sometimes called paw-paws, but they are actually two different fruits.
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