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How should papaya taste?

j
joysea May 3, 2005 08:12 PM

Having never tasted fresh papaya (only in juices), I picked one up at Whole Foods. It tastes mealy and is without flavor. Did I get a bum fruit? How is papaya supposed to taste?

  1. n
    N Tocus May 3, 2005 08:33 PM

    I'm not sure I can describe how papaya should taste, but I have learned the hard way not to cut into one until it is really, really, really ripe and looks as if it's about to rot. When you bring one home, put it in a brown paper grocery bag and fasten the top shut with a clothespin or clip. Leave it there until it looks like it's on the way out (in my experience about 5-7 days). THEN it will have a luscious very tropical kind of flavor. Put it in the sink and scrub it with a brush under running water. I like to peel the whole thing, cut it into wedges or chunks, and refrigerate it that way since by that time the peel looks fairly disgusting. The fruit will now have a luscious flavor. Eat it with a squeeze of lime. BTW papaya is incredibly good for you as it's loaded with vitamins and minerals. Also, if you live near a Mexican or Caribbean ethnic market you can get excellent papaya for half of what WholePaycheck charges.

    2 Replies
    1. re: N Tocus
      c
      Cristina May 3, 2005 10:45 PM

      What he said, exactly.

      One addition: after you squeeze the lime over it, add a sprinkle of salt, and a sprinkle of powdered chile. (Not, please, chile powder. Ugh.)

      1. re: N Tocus
        n
        N Tocus May 4, 2005 08:13 AM

        I should have qualified my post that I was speaking specificially of the big Mexican papayas, not the little ones that I think are Hawaiaan. BTW once they are very ripe, they can be used to make a batido (smoothie). The puree can also be mixed with vanilla ice cream and refrozen to make the papaya cream that's served in Brazilian restaurants.

      2. l
        LT from LF May 3, 2005 09:25 PM

        A papaya really only tastes like itself...but it should not be mealy. The flesh should be soft and melt-y. If it smells sort of like a petroleum byproduct, it's not ripe and you don't want to eat it.

        1. c
          corned beef king May 3, 2005 09:56 PM

          It tastes like nothing with an undertone of feet.Full of enzymes eat it and live to 100.

          1. n
            Nyleve May 4, 2005 10:33 AM

            I always buy the papayas that are on the clearance rack at the supermarket because they're perfectly ripe and delicious. The ones on the regular shelf are usually underripe and need much longer than you'd think to attain perfection. A papaya should be soft, with yellowish-orange patches on the skin. Even a few rotten spots are not a problem because they can be cut out, leaving you with an otherwise perfect fruit.

            Papaya is not as sweet as, say, a good melon. But it has a buttery sweetness and an aroma that takes some getting used to. But once you're used to it, you're hooked.

            1 Reply
            1. re: Nyleve
              r
              rudeboy May 4, 2005 01:58 PM

              Just FYI - green (underripe) papaya is often used in asian dishes....it has a crunchy texture suited for several dishes. My problem is often the opposite - I can't find papaya that are less ripe.

            2. j
              ju May 5, 2005 04:04 AM

              If you live in MA or NH, Market Basket usually sells very good papayas that are sweet and not mealy, and cost half what Whole Foods charges. And you can buy a half which is ideal if you want to do a taste-test.

              1 Reply
              1. re: ju
                j
                joysea May 5, 2005 09:06 AM

                Thanks for the tip. There's a MB not far from home.

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