Dating back to prehistoric times, the papaya is native to South and Central America. Today, the fruit is primarily grown in Hawaii and other tropical regions around the globe. This sweet, smooth-fleshed fruit is a great addition to salads, dried and used as a snack, fried, or pureed and added to beverages or deserts. The skin of the papaya is smooth, and varies from green to yellowish orange, and will become somewhat soft as the fruit ripens. Inside, the flesh looks similar to a cantaloupe, with a light orange-pink color and a central cavity filled with small inedible black seeds. Prepare papaya by cutting it lengthwise, scooping out the black seeds and then peel and slice.
Papaya are generally available year round, however, The Fruit Company only brings this fruit in for our HarvestClub Exotica and HarvestClub Medley members in September.
Hawaiian Papaya vs. Strawberry Papaya
Size and color are two of the biggest differences between these two varieties. The Strawberry Papaya is typically smaller in size than the Hawaiian Papaya. The Strawberry Papaya has a yellowish-green outer color with shades of orange when ripe and the inside flesh tends to be a salmon-colored; while the Hawaiian Papaya has a green outer color that becomes yellow when ripe with orange or pinkish flesh inside. Strawberry papaya is named for its flavor, rather its color. Strawberry papaya has a peachy-melon flavor to it and has been described as very sweet with tropical flavor and low acidity.
Similar to a melon, the papaya will typically turn from green to yellow-orange as it ripens, and will become soft, giving to light pressure. Ripen firm papaya by placing it in a loosely-closed plastic or paper bag at room temperature up to 3 days. Ripe papaya will store up to a week in the refrigerator. You can also freeze peeled papaya chunks for longer preservation or use in smoothies, but freezing is not recommended for long periods of time.