Despite its melon-like appearance, pawpaw is actually a large berry. Though it’s a close relative of papaya, they look and taste very different. Pawpaw has thin, smooth skin with sweet, yellow flesh and is not generally sold by variety.
Purchase firm pawpaws that have unblemished yellow-green skin. Pawpaw will continue to ripen for a few days until the skin is yellow and gives slightly when pressed. Pawpaw needs to be handled with care as it can bruise easily.
Pawpaws should be stored at room temperature until ripe, then can be kept in the fridge for 3–4 days.
Cut pawpaw in half to scoop out and discard the inedible black seeds. Pawpaw can be eaten raw or added to smoothies, desserts, salads, salsas and relishes or even added to pork, poultry or seafood dishes.
4 quick ways with pawpaw
Pawpaw and banana have a similar texture, so instead of making banana bread make pawpaw bread or muffins – simply swap the banana for an equal amount of mashed pawpaw.
This light meal is so easy to make: mix 1 finely chopped red chilli with 1 tablespoon each sweet chilli sauce and olive oil, 2 teaspoons each fish sauce and caster sugar and the juice of 1 lime. Gently whisk to combine. Add 400g cooked, peeled and chopped prawns; a chopped pawpaw; and four sliced green onions. Fill 4 large lettuce leaves with mixture and garnish with coriander.
Mix chopped pawpaw with shredded basil leaves, 1 finely chopped shallot and 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar. Spoon over grilled pork and top with roasted cashews.
Start the day with this tropical-tasting smoothie. Place chopped pawpaw, banana, strawberries, low-fat yoghurt and coconut-flavoured evaporated milk into a blender. Add a few tablespoons of wheatgerm, blend and enjoy!
Did you know? 100g pawpaw is a source of potassium and provides 20% of the RDI for vitamin A (for women).