Papaya, generally sold as red papaya, is oval in shape with yellow-orange skin and sweet orange-red flesh. Don’t mistake it for pawpaw, which is rounder and larger in size and sold as yellow pawpaw.
To eat straight away, choose papaya with yellow skin that’s slightly soft to touch. Pick firm papaya with yellow-green skin to ripen.
Store at room temperature to ripen. Once ripe, refrigerate for up to a few days. If cut, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate.
Wash, cut in half, scoop out seeds, lay flesh side up and slice lengthways. Peel by gliding a knife under skin. Papaya is delicious eaten with a squeeze of lime or lemon juice. To tenderise meat, coat with mashed papaya flesh for 30 minutes, wipe off and cook meat immediately.
4 quick ways with papaya
Liven up your breakfast or morning tea: toast wholemeal bread or fruit loaf. Top with ricotta cheese, papaya slices, a sprinkle of cinnamon and a drizzle of honey.
For a tangy and delicious salad, combine chopped green papaya with cucumber, some cherry tomatoes, roasted peanuts, mint, coriander, basil and chilli. Dress the salad with fish sauce, lime juice, brown sugar and olive oil.
Mix up a salsa for grilled chicken or fish: combine chopped papaya, red capsicum, tomato, red onion, coriander and a squeeze of lime juice to taste. Serve immediately.
Combine papaya, banana, strawberries, milk, yoghurt, honey and ice cubes in a blender and mix till smooth for a treat to go.
Did you know? Unripe (‘green’) papaya is a sought-after ingredient in most Asian cuisines and is eaten as a vegetable, although when it ripens, it is considered to be a fruit.