If you’ve tried papaya before and didn’t particularly enjoy the flavor, the fruit may not be entirely to blame.
Papaya that’s picked too early or too late can taste quite bland and may have an unpleasant smell.
This fruit tends to have a shape like pears or eggplants and may grow up to 20 inches long.
As it ripens, the color of the skin changes from green to yellow or orange-yellow, and may even have a few green specks all over.
In this blog post, you’ll learn what papaya tastes like, how to eat it, and everything you need to know to pick out fully ripe papaya.
Where Is Papaya Originally From?
Papaya was originally from southern Mexico and is one of the main reasons why explorers from Spain and Portugal decided to introduce these fruits to other countries all over the globe.
These include Latin America, India, the Philippines and certain parts of Africa.
Now, papaya is shipped to almost all parts of the world. It’s become quite popular because it has a fast growth rate.
After you plant it, you can expect to have fruit within three years, at the very least.
It can’t survive in cold weather, which is why it’s considered to be a tropical plant and should only be grown in tropical temperatures. ~(source)
What Does Papaya Taste Like?
The taste of papaya mostly depends on how ripe it is. To enjoy the best flavor, you need to get your hands on perfectly ripe papaya.
It will have a butter-like and creamy texture and the flavor can be mild or sweet.
Even though the flesh can be a little firm in most varieties that are available, it should automatically melt inside your mouth and shouldn’t need any chewing.
Papaya flavor is often compared to the flavor of some varieties of mango or cantaloupe melon.
If your papaya doesn’t have much flavor, smells a little unpleasant, and has a firm flesh that doesn’t melt in your mouth, then that’s a sign that it’s not fully ripe yet.
Unripe papayas are also commonly used in dishes, particularly in Asian cuisines, due to their crunchy texture.
The seeds of this fruit can also be eaten, but they’re known to have a sharp and bitter flavor like mustard and wasabi.
How to Eat Papaya
Papayas are versatile and creamy, much like avocadoes, and can be used to prepare a host of dishes and delicacies.
You can eat fully ripe papaya raw, or use unripe papayas to prepare cooked meals. It can be added to both sweet and savory dishes.
Here’s a list of delicious food items you can make with papaya:
- Dried snacks
- Fruit bowls
There’s a lot you can do with this fruit if you get creative. Some fruits that can be paired with papaya include mango, berries, passionfruit, and kiwifruit.
How to Pick Out a Papaya
To pick out the best papaya at your local grocery store, there’s a lot you need to keep in mind.
Papayas that are picked at the right stage continue to ripen and their flavor and natural sugars get developed over time.
The first thing you need to do to pick out fully ripe papaya is to look for yellow or slightly orange-yellow skin that has very few blemishes.
Make sure it doesn’t have any deep holes, scratches or dents. A few green spots here and there are perfectly fine.
Another thing you need to check for is the smell. If the stem portion of the papaya you’ve picked out has an unpleasant odor, it usually means the fruit is overripe.
A sweet aroma, on the other hand, is a sign that it’s fully ripe and will yield the most delicious flavor.
If you’re looking for unripe papaya, look for one that has no smell near the stem. ~(source)
Ripe papayas are quite soft on the outside. Avoid picking ones that are too soft and mushy around the base as that can mean the fruit is overripe.
When you hold it in your hands, it should feel a little heavy for its size.
It shouldn’t be too firm or too soft. Don’t forget to check the base for any signs of mold or mildew.
Papayas are an incredibly versatile fruit that can be used to prepare both sweet and savory dishes.
If you’ve never tasted papaya before, make sure you pick it out when it’s perfectly ripe for the best flavor.
Store it properly in your refrigerator so you can enjoy it for up to a week, although it’s important to note that it’s best consumed within the first few days.