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Picking and Peeling a Perfect Papaya

Picking a papaya can be tricky stuff. First, papayas should be mostly yellow, not green. However, they are oftentimes picked green and unripe so they don’t bruise during shipping. Now, a green-picked papaya will eventually turn yellow. However, it will never be as sweet and juicy as a papaya that is picked yellow.

My papaya started green. I live in the Midwest. Papayas have a long way to travel before they end up here, and it means we don’t often buy them as we try to eat locally-grown produce as much as possible. That said, I do treat the family to produce grown elsewhere when it’s in season, and June to September is peak papaya season.

If you find yourself with an unripe papaya, simply put the fruit in a brown paper bag on the counter for a few days until it turns to a yellow shade. The skin can even wrinkle a little bit. This is fine as long as it doesn’t not become overly mushy.
Start by cutting your papaya in half.

Next, using a spoon, scoop out the seeds in the center, careful not to scoop too far into the flesh of the papaya.

You could use a melon baller or small scoop here to create balls of fruit, but if you’re looking for sliced or diced, you’ll want to peel the skin off. The skin is moderately tough, but a good vegetable peeler of sharp paring knife should be able to do the job.

Then, cut slices. You could serve these as part of a fruit plate. They are easy to pick up and eat with your fingers.

If you’re looking for something smaller, dice the slices the opposite direction into small, bite-sized pieces, perfect for adding to fruit salads or flash freezing for use later in smoothies or sauces.

A few papaya recipes:
Papaya Doughnuts, Lime Agave, Sunflower Sprinkles | Healthy. Happy. Life.
Papaya, Prosciutto, and Lime | Simply Recipes
Lychee Sorbet in Coconut Macadamia Tuiles with Papaya Coulis | māʻona
Banana-Papaya Smoothie | TriniGourmet

Have you ever cooked with papaya?

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