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Papaya is loved for its tropical flavor and seemingly endless health benefits. Fresh papaya’s texture is much like ripe cantaloupe, with a flavor that brings to mind mango, peach and a hint of banana.. Shaped something like a cross between a large pear and a football (and about the size of one), papaya is a tropical fruit known best for its juicy, deep orange flesh that’s loaded with shiny, dark seeds in the center.
The star of the papaya show is absolutely it’s uniquely orange flesh that’s enjoyed raw or cooked into countless sweet and savory dishes. The black seeds have a bitter flavor and a heat that allows them to be used kinda like peppercorns. Papaya peel is waxy and fibrous, and therefore discarded as inedible.
What to know how to tell when a papaya is ripe? It’s easy. First, their skin will be a golden yellow color. Little to no green should remain on the skin once ripe. The fruit should feel heavy in your hand, and yield to gentle pressure from your thumb, similar to an avocado.
Papaya is an incredibly tasty and satisfying snack that just so happens to be good for you, too! The generous fiber content of papaya helps you feel full. Plus, papayas contain an enzyme called papain that’s known to support digestive health because it helps break down proteins. Its vitamin C content boosts your immunity and helps to prevent arthritis, while vitamin A is great for eye health. Papayas are also linked to cancer prevention due to their high antioxidant content.
FruitStand is here to give you all of our papaya pro tips. Here are some of the most common ways to add papaya to your life!
The sturdy papaya is a breeze to slice and dice. Once the peel is removed, you can begin to break down this beauty for its sweet flesh and peppery seeds. Fresh papaya can be eaten raw as a snack or added to countless sweet and savory dishes. Start by adding sliced papaya to your cheese and charcuterie plates, yogurt and granola bowls, salads and salsas.
Here are some of the easiest, most common ways of how to slice a papaya:
- First, slice the papaya in half longways. Then, using a sharp knife or peeler, remove the inedible papaya skin. Carefully spoon the slippery seeds out of the center of the papaya into a bowl. With the flat side of the papaya half down on the cutting board, cut the fruit into ½ inch slices and serve! If you want smaller pieces of fruit, you can continue to slice or dice the papaya from here in the size your recipe needs.
- Using a melon baller, scoop out the orange papaya flesh into balls. Add them to salads, desserts or drinks.
Papaya is a versatile fruit whose flavor comes to life when the heat turns up. Here are a few ways to enjoy your papaya beyond its raw form.
- Grilling: Because papaya flesh is so similar to melon, this fruit is begging to be sliced, skewered and caramelized at the next barbeque. You can also grill thick slices of papaya along with other fruits like pineapple, peaches and plums for a unique grilled fruit salad!
- Toast the papaya seeds in a hot pan for 1-2 minutes or until fragrant, then add them to their own pepper grinder for a special, pepper-like spice.
- Baking: Papaya can be baked into cakes, tarts and other desserts.
- Confection: The tropical flavor of papaya is delicious in jams, jellies and candy making.
You may know papaya for its supporting role in countless fruit punch recipes, and just about anything tropical. Here at FruitStand, we think papaya is a real star especially when it comes to refreshing beverages.
Here are some easy ways use papaya in your drinks:
- Juicing: Remove the peel and seeds from papaya, then, simply feed the pulp into your juicer for a tropically floral juice. Papaya tends to play well with other produce like pineapple, strawberry, coconut, lime, mango, spinach and cucumber.
- Smoothies: If you’re wondering what to do with ripe papaya, smoothies are a fantastic option. Whether you have leftover papaya or want to use a whole papaya in smoothies, we recommend freezing it for best use. To prepare your papaya for smoothies, slice the fruit into chunks, then reeze them on a cookie sheet with space in between each piece. Once frozen, store them in an airtight container in the freezer. You can easily pop frozen papaya cubes into smoothies!
- Cocktails: Whether in flamboyant tiki drinks or simple, spirit-forward drinks, papaya will add a sweet and fresh, fruity dimension to your adult beverages.
- Water: Dice up or melon ball pieces of papaya to add to your water bottle along with fresh herbs like mint for an eye catching and delicious refresher.
Do you feel like a papaya eating expert now? Show us your favorite ways to prepare and eat papaya by tagging us in your culinary masterpieces on Instagram @Fruitstandcom !