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How To Cut A Papaya & The Best Ways To Eat It?

Papayas can easily be cut by slicing them in half, scooping the seeds out, and either eating it as is, or slicing and peeling.

They are super easy to work with, and create some phenomenal dishes and snacks. If you want to find out more, keep reading!

If you don’t know about papayas – where have you been? These incredible fruits are from the tropics, and are a very important part of Indian and Thai cuisine.

How To Cut A Papaya & The Best Ways To Eat It

They are known for being cooked into delicious stews, but also salads, salsa, and smoothies. 

You can use papayas in many ways, depending on your preferences. However, one issue that many people run into is cutting one!

If this sounds like you, we will go through everything you need to know about papayas. By the end of this post, you will be a papaya pro.

How To Cut A Papaya?

There’s more to it than simply cutting a papaya. Because of this, we’re going to go through the whole process.

That way, you will never go wrong, and you will always be able to make the most of your papaya. 

Picking Your Papaya

The first important step on your papaya journey is picking the right fruit.

There are two types of papaya that you might come across, but the most common is the Hawaiian Papaya.

These are the smaller of the two variants, and it has bright orange flesh when it’s ripe.

You will notice that this fruit will have a very mild citrus scent when it’s ripe, too. 

If you’re planning on using your papaya on the day, or the next, look for one that’s ripe.

A Hawaiian Papaya should have skin (which isn’t edible) that’s a yellow-orange color.

If it’s green, it isn’t ripe, and probably won’t be for a while. A ripe papaya should be at least 80% yellow to be good to eat. 

If you still aren’t sure based on the color, you can do a touch test.

By gently pressing down on the skin, you should be able to see if the flesh is soft.

A ripe papaya should give in a little from the pressure of your thumb or finger. 

A papaya that is overripe might smell fermented and  have black spots or bruises. Avoid the papaya if they look like this. 

Do not eat a papaya that isn’t ripe. It can easily make you sick.

However, you can eat the unripened leaves of the papaya once they’re cooked! They are actually pretty delicious, having a similar taste to spinach or squash. 

Preparing It

While you definitely shouldn’t eat papaya skin, you can still rinse it to keep contaminants out of the house.

Simply rinse the fruit under cool water to get rid of the dirt and dust.

When you’re done, simply pat it dry and continue. You run the risk of cutting your hands if you try to cut the papaya while it’s still wet.

If you want to eat your papaya as is on its own, all you need to do is cut it in half and scoop the seeds out.

After that, you can just use a spoon to scoop chunks of flesh out to enjoy.

Alternatively, you can treat it like a mango and do the “inverted hedgehog” method.

This involves slicing the papaya to make squares, then just scoop the papaya chunks out to use!

Peeling It

Once again, it is not recommended to eat the skin of a papaya. This skin produces latex, which can actually be absorbed and give you an upset stomach.

However, the unpleasant taste of the skin should be enough to make you not want to eat it, anyway. 

Make sure you pat the papaya skin dry before trying to peel it. You can choose to do this now or later, or simply not peel it at all!

The easiest way to peel a papaya would be to wait until the fruit has been chopped into smaller pieces, as it can get very slippery. 

Let’s take a look at some methods you can use to peel a papaya below. 

Use a Paring Knife

Use a Paring Knife

A paring knife will give you the control you need for feeling a papaya.

All you need to do is cut both ends of the papaya off so that it can sit upright, then start peeling!

You can use the knife to cut off thin, long strips from the fruit, gradually peeling it. 

Alternatively, you can cut the top and bottom of the papaya off, then cut it in half.

Place the papaya face down, so that the skin is up, and gently cut away the peel at that angle. 

Be careful not to use a lot of pressure when you’re doing this.

The flesh of the papaya will already be soft, and it’s very easy to break or bruise it. Be gentle doing this, and you will get the fruit peeled in no time. 

Using A Vegetable Peeler

You can also use a vegetable peeler to get the job done. Pretend the papaya is a potato, but be more gentle with it.

Placing the fruit on the cutting board might make it a little easier, but this is completely up to you and how you like to do things.

Don’t Peel It

Option three – don’t peel it! This is realistically the easiest option. Whether you want to have the papaya on its own, in a salad, or in a stew, you can easily chop it without even peeling it.

All you need to do is slice cubes into the flesh after scooping the seeds out like you would a mango, and use a spoon to scoop the cubes out.

Cutting The Papaya And Seed Removal

Now is the time to cut your papaya. Simply cut it in half and scoop the black seeds out carefully.

You can keep the seeds if you like. If you want, you can cook and eat the seeds, but you might not like how they taste.

Now, depending on what you want to use your papaya for, you may need to cut it in different ways.

You may choose to slice the papaya with the skin still on, creating crescent shaped slices, or cube them.

Now is your time to peel the fruit if you have not peeled it yet.

Do this by using a fork to keep the fruit pinned down while you use a vegetable peeler or paring life to get rid of the skin that you do not want. 

If the papaya is ripe enough, you can also just peel it by hand once it has been cut.

All you need to do is lift one side of the skin up from the flesh, then gently pull it off.

This should work well, and the skin should come off in one or two large slices, depending on the size of the papaya slice. 

Once the papaya has been sliced and peeled, you can cube it, or cut it into your preferred shape.

You can use the peel of the fruit for a compost bin if you have one that you are using. They are great materials to add and will keep it going. 

How You Can Eat A Papaya?

There are a number of ways you can eat your papaya once you buy it. Depending on your preferences, you might want to try one from the list of options below!

  • Enjoy it on its Own – papaya on its own is simply delicious, and worth trying. They are great at room temperature or chilled, so it’s up to you! To get some extra flavor, you can try squeezing some lemon juice over it. You won’t look back!
  • Make a Papaya Salsa – who doesn’t love a fruit salsa on a summer day? Just cut up your papaya, then add some chopped up peppers, red onion, and some lime juice! Scoop it up on some tortilla chips, and enjoy. 
  • Create a Papaya Sorbet – to do this, blend together your papaya with some lemon juice, sugar, and water. Allow it to freeze, then you will have the perfect snack for a hot day. It’ll be a family favorite.
  • Papaya Smoothie – smoothies are great, right? Well, have you ever tried a papaya smoothie? Make a smoothie like you normally would, then add your papaya and blend it all together! It’ll come out super fresh and sweet, and it will be the perfect start to your day. 
  • Make a Papaya Salad – did you know that papayas pair well with cheese? If you don’t believe us, why not try it for yourself in a papaya salad? Chop up some tomatoes, greens, feta cheese, almonds, and add a chili-lime dressing. You won’t know what hit you.
  • Build a Papaya Boat – who wants to clean a bowl when your papaya can be the bowl? Make a fruit salad, then use the papaya skin as a bowl (or boat), and serve it like that! You can even add ice cream, yogurt, or anything else you like.

How To Use Papaya In Cooking?

  • Papaya Chicken – a popular dish in Indian cuisine that pairs the flavors of chicken and papaya perfectly.
  • Make a Marinade – use this papaya marinade to tenderize meat, while also imparting a delicious flavor you can’t beat.
  • Baked or Roast Papaya – by baking or roasting a papaya, you’;re only enhancing the flavor, and who doesn’t want that? It can be the perfect desert along with some ice cream or honey.
  • Stews or Curries –  if you have a green papaya, use it as a vegetable and add it to your stews or curries!

Recipe Card (simplified)

Frequently Asked Questions

Is It Okay To Eat Green Papaya?

You should not eat raw green papaya. Green papaya can be treated like a vegetable and added to stews and curries to be edible.

How Can I Eat Green Papaya?

Add them to stews or curries to make them edible.

Does Papaya Taste Good?

Papaya is delicious. It is very fresh, and has a mild citrus taste and smell.

Is Papaya Popular In Asian Cuisine?

Yes, papaya is often used in Indian and Thai cuisine to create delicious meals. 

Can You Eat Papaya Seeds?

You technically can, but raw papaya seeds are bitter and unpleasant. They may also cause an upset stomach.

How To Cut A Papaya & The Best Ways To Eat It

How To Cut A Papaya

Prep Time: 2 minutes
Active Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 5 minutes

Papaya is surprisingly easy to prepare. All you have to do is cut the fruit in half, peel it and enjoy its deliciously sweet flesh.

Materials

  • Papaya

Tools

  • Sharp knife

Instructions

  1. Check the papaya is ripe: A ripe papaya should be at least 80% yellow on the outside. Also check that you can feel the skin being slightly soft. This means that the fruit is ripe.
  2. Wash your papaya: Although you will need to remove the skin, it's a good idea to wash your papaya to remove any dirt or dust.
  3. Cut the papaya: Take a sharp knife and cut your papaya in half. Then, scoop out the seeds. If you just want to eat the papaya, then you can also just scoop out the flesh without further cutting.
  4. Peel the papaya: As it's best not to eat the skin, you need to peel it. You can use the knife for this when you cut the papaya into smaller chunks. Alternatively, you can also use a sharp vegetable peeler.
  5. Serve: You can either eat papaya in smaller pieces, or why not just scoop out the flesh directly without too much cutting.
Jess Smith
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