How To Clean & Eat Papayas

sliced papaya

I’m not sure if people were able to find papayas in the US 10 years ago, but since I moved here in 2007, I’ve seen them in many grocery stores.  For the past two years I’ve been buying 2-3 papayas on a weekly basis.  When it’s just perfectly ripen, I eat it straight in pieces and when it’s a bit too soft then I make papaya shake.  Now during during summer, you should try shaved iced with papaya and condensed milk, they go wonderful together.

Sometimes papayas might stink, when they smell a bit strong I either rinse it in water or eat with lime juice as a salad.  If it tastes good but the smell is too strong for you to get used to it, then blend with extra vanilla beans/extract, cinnamon and nutmeg, that will fix it.  Most of the times papayas are sweet but if you have a sweet tooth like my husband who likes to replace papaya shakes for dessert, then don’t feel bad and throw in the mix, a date or two.

I remember the papayas in Panama, always really big and my dad would cover them in news paper and place in the oven to speed up the ripening process (up to this day I’ve no idea if that works haha).  I’ve heard that bananas make other fruits ripen quicker, so if you’re in a rush you might want to try placing your papayas next to your bananas.

I buy papayas twice a week because if I buy them all at once then in 3-4 days I’ll end up with the amount of sliced papaya that you see on the top photograph.  I could have papaya shakes everyday, sometimes a lot, sometimes a bit.  It never bores me out, I just change the types of milk to give it a different touch: (hemp, almond, coconut, cashew, soy, etc).  Though I grew up blending it with evaporated milk (I know, such a heavy milk), but that’s how I was raised preparing it and how you usually find it around many street fruit shake vendors.  I’m sure nowadays you can find other milk options when buying papaya shake.

I’ve never cooked or baked with a ripen papaya, but I’ve found these recipes that I want to try in the future:

Mango, Cherries & Papaya Tart (Recipe in Spanish)
Papaya Cake
Papaya Pineapple Cheesecake

 This is the recipe for my favorite Papaya Shake:


(play Megadeth, do a Vine/InstaVideo, tweet it and cc me, of course I’m just kidding, you can also play The Cure, that’s valid too)

 These papayas were not ripe, if you noticed it goes from greenest to the most yellow, I bought them this way so they wouldn’t ripe all at the same time.

unripen papayas

 I always rinse my papaya first when I bring from the grocery store.  Once it’s ready to eat, I slice off the tops and then split vertically or horizontally in half, depending on the size and shape, (watch out with the seeds falling all over the place, keep a trash container to open the sliced papaya on top of it, in case many seeds come out of it).

como cortar papaya

Scoop out the seeds with a big spoon, I like to hold my papaya on top of my trash container, if you’re keeping the seeds, do the same in a different container to later on rinse and roast the seeds.

scoop papaya seeds

clean papaya

Once you have scooped out all the seeds, take one each half of the papaya and place on a chopping board with the skin facing up and use your sharpest knife, its skin isn’t as difficult as tomato skin, but it gets slippery so watch out and avoid injuries!  Also, when slicing off the skin, make sure you don’t slice too much of the papaya so you don’t lose much of the fruit, but also slice enough so you don’t keep that bitter too-close-to-the-skin kind of flavor.

peeled papaya

1.  If you’re not sure the papaya is ripen, slice a small piece of the hardest or less looking ripen part,  taste it and if it’s sweet then you will know it’s ready.  If for some reason you sliced too much of it and need to eat it in the moment, and if it isn’t sweet enough, blend with dates and spices, that will balance out the flavor.

2. When you work with papaya think of avocados, it takes a while to know when they are perfect, but if you rush too soon there is always a way to fix it.  And like avocados, every papaya will be different and sometimes it will come with weird spots you can slice off with a smaller knife and eat the good part.

3. Papaya Seeds:  You can toast/roast the fruit seeds (like peppercorns) and ground up to use as black pepper .

4. If you aren’t bored yet of so many Papaya pics or my Papaya mania I welcome you to follow me on Instagram / Twitter or Facebook, you will get more papaya madness, I promise.

 ¡a comer!






















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