How To Cut A Papaya: Barbara’s Handy Guide
Need a bit more sunshine in your life? Or maybe you are in the mood for a sweet taste of the Tropics? Well, you are in luck, because papayas are a part of your cravings that you can buy in a supermarket!
Some time ago, I once again wanted to go down to the Caribbean for vacation, just like I wanted to go last year. Sadly, responsibilities prevented me, just like they prevent a lot of other people.
People can’t bring the Tropics with them, except pictures and videos and a few souvenirs. And pocket sand, lots of pocket sand. While that is true, there is nothing stopping you from feeling like you are there, especially when you can refresh yourself with treats from the Tropics.
Apart from coconuts, papayas are one of the most iconic fruits the Tropics can offer, and I am going to teach you how to cut papaya.
Some Interesting Information About Papayas
While it is said that papaya has been cultivated for centuries in southern regions of Mexico and other parts of Central America, papaya is now cultivated around the world.
If you live in southern parts of Florida, Texas or California, you could find papaya trees, as they like warm climates, though wet ground can ruin even the mature trees.
Because they are grown there, you might find some papayas grown in the States, though if you exclusively eat those, you will be starved for papayas.
You will most likely see papayas that are imported, some from Mexico, but most from India, as they produce most of the papaya, around six times more than Mexico.
So do not worry about the quality of papayas, they are well taken care of during their journey to your kitchen.
Tips For Cutting a Papaya
I have heard a lot of people say that they are not sure how to check, buy, cut or clean Papayas, reasoning that they are not just another fruit that they have grown up with and instinctively know.
That is a valid point to make, but that will not stop me from teaching you about papayas. Let’s get started.
1. Getting The Right One
- The best way to get papaya would be to pick it off a tree, as people have in the regions of Mexico for centuries. But most of us don’t live far enough south to have the opportunity to do that every day. So, what can you do in that case?
- Well, the best way to get fresh papaya is to buy it at a store, or at a green market, preferably one you trust. Picking the right papaya for you is easy, as the best way to tell which one is ripe or not is by its color.
- Yellow to orange-red Papayas are ripe and can be used as soon as you get home, while green ones are not yet ripe, so they should stay out a little longer than the rest. Simple as that.
2. Cutting The Papaya
- They may be irregularly shaped, or strange as some may put it, but Papayas are easy to cut. The thing to be noted here is that ripe ones are not that hard, so do not use too much pressure while cutting, so you won’t squish them.
- The first thing to do is to cut the top off, where the stem is. The stem is the toughest part, so it is easier to cut it off completely than to struggle with trying to cut it up. You don’t eat the stem, so just get rid of it.
- Next, you just slice it in half along the longest part. Most papayas are a bit larger than other, more common fruit, so this will help you manipulate it.
- Feels like they are still too big? Do not worry, for after you clean the Papaya, (which is covered in the next section) you can dice it up into little cubes, or use a grater to turn your papaya into delicious strips.
3. Cleaning The Papaya
- Cleaning papaya is a process, though it is not a complex one.
- First, we get rid of the seeds. All you need is a spoon and a place to throw the seeds away. Just scoop them out, like you would do when cleaning a pumpkin.
- After that, use your knife or a peeler to remove the skin. I found it is better to do this after removing the seeds, as the skin allows for more grip and an easier time scooping.
Papaya In Recipes
I will now tell you about some food that use papaya as an ingredient. You might just be surprised.
1. Green Papaya Salad
Sometimes, you just need a light meal, not to stuff yourself. Well, a green papaya salad is one of those meals.
For this you will need:
- 1 green papaya, grated
- 2 cups of cooked and cooled black beans
- 1 cup of cooked and cooled corn
- 1 red pepper, diced
And for the dressing:
- 2 tablespoons of olive oil
- Juice of 2 limes
- 3 crushed garlic cloves
- ¼ of cut cilantro, better if it’s fresh
- 1 tablespoon of brown sugar
- 1 pinch of chili powder
- Salt and pepper, to your taste
- You will first put the Papaya, beans, corn and red pepper into a bowl.
- Then put all the ingredients for the dressing into a blender and blend until it has a smooth texture.
- Now add the dressing into the bowl, mix it all up, wrap it with plastic and cool it in the fridge for half an hour.
That is all there is for the salad. I didn’t even use salt or pepper, but you can. 🙂
2. Papaya Smoothie
If you are looking for something sweet, a papaya smoothie is my recommendation. Here is how to do it.
You will need:
- 1 cup of milk
- ¼ cup of Greek yogurt
- ½ of a ripe, cleaned and diced Papaya
- 1 peeled banana
- 1 cup of ice cube
Put all of the ingredients into the blender, and blend them until they are fully mixed.
Alternatively, you can use diced papaya that was frozen beforehand instead of ice cubes. It worked well for me, and it made the smoothie thicker in the long run.
Papayas are as versatile as they are delicious, but that can be a lot to someone not fully familiar with them. In the event that you feel like that, just cut and clean them, and eat them fresh, just like people did for ages. 😉