What Does Papaya Taste Like?
Papaya is a tropical fruit, native to Central America, that has many properties beneficial for health. It has an ovoid shape, a greenish-yellow skin and black shiny and spicy seeds. It has a very juicy reddish flesh, similar to that of melon, with a sweet, smooth flavor. It is rich in papain, the enzyme that gives this fruit many healthy properties.
The fruit grows on the papayo tree, which can grow up to ten meters tall. Papaya is one of the fastest growing trees! Just a year and a half after planting the seeds, it will bear fruit. In general, this is an ideal tropical plant that will bear fruit all year long.
It’s not easy to describe the taste of papaya. Some say it tastes like sweet carrot, pumpkin or zucchini. But I believe papaya has a unique taste.
For example, Holland Papaya, my favorite, has chocolate and coffee notes when it ripens. Wild papaya tends to be sweeter with a taste resembling apricot.
Unripe papaya either has little to no flavor or it just tastes bad. Some Asian cuisines use unripe papaya for its crunchy texture.
Papaya seeds, although normally discarded, are edible and can be used crushed to dress salads. They have a very spicy flavor reminiscent of mustard.
When buying papaya, look first at its color to check for a yellowish hue. To ensure it is ripe, press the fruit with a finger; if it yields easily, it is ready to eat. Quite often papaya has brown spots on its skin, but these are not a sign it is overripe and do not affect the quality of the pulp.
Keep in mind that it is a very fragile fruit and perishes quickly, so it must be handled with great care. When it is ripe, it must be kept in the refrigerator, where we can be kept in good condition for about a week. If buying unripe, green fruit, leave it at room temperature until the green skin begins to yellow. If it doesn’t turn, the fruit will most likely be tasteless.
The ideal way to consume papaya is cold because that’s when its flavor is at its best. Before serving, cut it in half and scoop out the black seeds. Rinse it in water to eliminate any flavor of the seeds and, finally, spoon out the pulp and enjoy this exquisite tropical fruit. To enhance its natural flavor, squeeze over a little lemon or lime juice.