Papayas are a delicious tropical fruit that is rich in fiber, vitamins, and antioxidants. They’re also a good source of potassium, which may help lower blood pressure and balance your sodium levels.
Papayas are available year-round but their best flavor is during peak season, which typically occurs between early summer and fall. Buying during these times will be more affordable and easier to find at your local market.
Choosing a Papaya
Ripe papayas have a slightly sweet, nutty flavor and a texture that is similar to a soft banana. They can be eaten on their own, or used to make sorbets and smoothies. They’re also great for adding to soups and chilled salads.
While it’s possible to find papayas throughout the year, the best quality ones are most common during peak season in summer and fall. If you’re buying a fresh papaya, look for one with skin that has slight yellow tones and gives slightly when pressed gently.
You can test whether a papaya is ripe by simply pressing your thumb into the flesh, as you would with an avocado. A papaya that yields to pressure is ripe, while one that doesn’t will likely be overripe and have a fermented smell.
Preparing the Papaya
The papaya is an exotic and delicious tropical fruit with a smooth, buttery texture. It is easy to cut up and can be used in a variety of sweet and savory recipes.
When preparing papayas, be sure to check their color and the thickness of the skin. If they are completely green or bruised, the fruit will not ripen and may even begin to rot.
A ripe papaya should have a yellowish or orange skin that gives slightly when pressed, and the flesh should be soft to the touch. You can also look for papayas that have a sweet aroma and are free of blemishes.
The fruit is full of antioxidants and nutrients like vitamin C, vitamin A, potassium, magnesium and fiber. It’s a great addition to a number of dishes and can be used in marinades, sauces, smoothies and salads.
Peeling the Papaya
Papayas are a delicious, sweet tropical fruit that is easy to prepare and can be eaten on its own or used in fruit salads. They are also a good source of fiber, potassium, and vitamins A and C.
A ripe papaya should be slightly soft to the touch, have a light yellow or orange color, and a strong, sweet aroma. It should also have smooth, waxy skin that doesn’t have bumps or indentations.
The best way to peel a papaya is to cut the top off and then stand it flat side down on your cutting board. This makes it easier to cut the flesh off the peel and avoids getting any juice into your hands.
Once the peel is off, slice the papaya into half-moons or long strips crosswise. These can then be cut into chunks, cubes, or small dice for use in recipes or as a snack.
A ripe papaya is usually served as a dessert, but it’s a great addition to smoothies or salads, too. It can even be enjoyed as a tangy appetizer with thin slices of prosciutto.
Slicing the Papaya
Slicing up a papaya can be intimidating, but with the right technique, it can be a breeze. This tropical fruit is delicious and nutritious, so learning to cut it up can help you get more of it into your diet.
To start, trim off both ends of the papaya. Stand it up on one of its bases and use a chef’s knife to slice through the middle, lengthwise.
Next, remove the seeds. This step is crucial to the flavor and nutrition of this sweet fruit.
Once the seeds are removed, you can slice the flesh however you prefer – whether it’s into large slices, cubes or julienne strips for a salad.
Once you’ve sliced the papaya, store it in an airtight container in your refrigerator for up to 3 days. If you don’t eat it immediately, spritz a little lime juice over it to enhance its flavor and keep it fresher longer!