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Papaya - what is your favourite way to use one

BJE Feb 2, 2007 05:13 AM

I have just bought a papaya for the first time. How do I know when it is ready to eat? Also what is your favourite way to use this fruit?

  1. LAcupcake Feb 6, 2007 01:54 PM

    I like them cut up with a dressing of lime juice and honey and sometimes i throw in some dried cranberries or halved grapes. I also like them with lime juice and salt, cut up with a little ranchero cheese crumbled on top.

    1. singleguychef Feb 6, 2007 08:21 AM

      There are actually different varieties of papayas depending on the country it's from, so a lot of what you'd do with it depends on the varieties.

      For example, I grew up in Hawaii and I believe they have the best papayas. Sweet, beautiful pale orange meat. Hmm. It's best to eat those ripe and either with lemon juice squeezed over it or a scoop of vanilla ice cream.

      Now in other parts of the world, the papayas are a bit bigger than the Hawaiian ones. In some places, the meat is actually pinkish or strawberry like. (They're sometimes called strawberry papayas in Hawaii.) So for those, you know its ripe when it's actually a darker orange-red color.

      The large elongated papayas in the South East are popular for green papaya salad when the meat is julienned when it's unripen. Some places also cut them into cubes and make a soup out of it, almost like a wintermelon soup.

      Which ones do you have and where did you get them? I miss papayas from Hawaii. We get them in the Bay Area but they cost almost $3 each. Sometimes I'll buy one as a treat. The ingredients supposedly is very healthy for your brain.

      1 Reply
      1. re: singleguychef
        JungMann Feb 6, 2007 08:23 AM

        I really much more prefer papayas unripened and made into either a Thai salad or pickled to eat on the side. It's amazing.

      2. t
        Theresa Feb 6, 2007 01:57 AM

        It's lovely with lime juice and served with parma/serrano ham. A dish I often do as a starter is:

        Watercress with olive oil and lemon juice as a dressing
        buffalo mozzarella, drizzled with a little olive oil
        cubes of papaya with lime juice squeezed over it
        Parma ham

        I generally serve it in a large flat-ish salad bowl - watercress at the bottom, then the mozzarella, then the papaya and the parma ham on the top - a divine combination of textures and flavours.

        1 Reply
        1. re: Theresa
          marlie202 Feb 6, 2007 04:57 AM

          this dish also sounds delicious

        2. t
          tinybites Feb 5, 2007 07:11 PM

          One of my childhood memories is my Mom serving me vanilla ice cream scooped into half a papaya. So good! She used to tell me stories of growing up in China visiting her relatives' farm where they would save her the biggest papayas from the tree.

          1. bigmackdaddy Feb 5, 2007 04:19 PM

            Either as a meat tenderizer or totally prostituted as a digestive aide with my Gray's hot dogs.

            1. MaspethMaven Feb 3, 2007 04:33 PM

              We use green papayas to candy in syrup and store in the fridge. Called Dulce Lechosa. It's really, really good.

              2 Replies
              1. re: MaspethMaven
                laurie Feb 3, 2007 05:37 PM

                Wow, that sounds good! How do you make it?

                1. re: laurie
                  MaspethMaven Feb 5, 2007 03:53 PM


                  here's a recipe

              2. l
                laurie Feb 3, 2007 02:19 PM

                We have a couple papaya trees in our yard. We juice them with oranges for a great smoothie that is very good for you. As stated above, papayas have enzymes that are a wonderful digestive aid. We also enjoy them sliced and sprinkled with lime (key limes from our yard!).

                We recently had a wonderful green papaya salad made with diced green papaya, Asian pears, and a slightly sweet Vietnamese-style peanut sauce. Mmmmmm!

                2 Replies
                1. re: laurie
                  bolivianita Feb 3, 2007 04:30 PM

                  Where do you live that you have papayas in your yard!?

                  1. re: bolivianita
                    laurie Feb 3, 2007 05:37 PM

                    Florida! They grow like maniacs here.

                2. jenniebnyc Feb 3, 2007 01:26 PM

                  Use in spicy Thai salad.

                  1. HillJ Feb 3, 2007 06:01 AM

                    cubed and added to yogurt
                    papaya makes nice thick smoothies
                    if you have an ice cream maker....just delicious!
                    papaya belini's
                    small diced add to steamed rice with green onions & fresh grated ginger

                    1. p
                      piccola Feb 2, 2007 10:02 PM

                      I love papaya in salads with dark greens, water chestnuts, almonds and a spicy dressing (either sesame-ginger, a chili-lime or a curry dressing).

                      It's also good with cottage cheese or feta.

                      1. m
                        MakingSense Feb 2, 2007 05:17 PM

                        Ripe papaya with lime juice is my favorite fruit.
                        It's also a meat tenderizer. The papain enzyme in it is the ingredient in Adolph's meat tenderizer.
                        It's really good for a "funny tummy." Settles mine all the time.
                        And don't throw away the peel. Rub it over your hands. Makes them as smooth as a baby's. Great for a quick facial too.

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: MakingSense
                          bolivianita Feb 2, 2007 06:38 PM

                          my parents swearby papaya as a digestive aide and living in South America they acn eateveryday. I am jealous

                        2. k
                          kobetobiko Feb 2, 2007 05:01 PM

                          In Asia it is often used to make a juice blend (almost like a smoothie) with milk. It may sound boring but you will be surprised by how outrageously delicious it is. Somehow the taste of papaya just fits so well with milk compared to other fruits. Try it once and you will get addicted!

                          1. bolivianita Feb 2, 2007 04:37 PM

                            frsh lime on ripe papya is so wonderful. wish i could get some papaya!

                            1. foodseek Feb 2, 2007 09:00 AM

                              Only fresh then halve it like a cantaloupe-scoop out the seeds and drizzle a fair amount of fresh lemon juice on top. Delicious!

                              1. puppymomma Feb 2, 2007 08:56 AM

                                When I was in Costa Rica studying, I lived with a family. The mother would buy the large kinds (they are like a foot long). She would just serve them with fresh lime juice (from the lime tree in the back yard) drizzled on top. It's totally delicious when the fruit is ripe.

                                It's ripe when the outside is yellowing, and it's softish, but not totally soft. I like the way cheryl_h compared it to a ripe pear. If you see it pre-cut down the center in the grocery store, the fruit should bea deep coral-color. If looks more like the color of a canteloup, it's not ripe enough. If it's too red, it's over-ripe.

                                1. chowser Feb 2, 2007 08:38 AM

                                  When it's fresh and in season, raw is great. It's the only time I'll have it.

                                  1. c
                                    cheryl_h Feb 2, 2007 08:32 AM

                                    Press lightly around the stem end. It just should give under pressure, about the same as a ripe pear. I peel and eat it cut into chunks. Topped with some good yogurt and a swirl of honey, it is heavenly. My mother liked it with freshly squeezed orange juice and orange segments. She had a tree from which she would pick her breakfast papaya each morning during the fruiting season. I can't think of a bad way to enjoy it.

                                    1. m
                                      marlie202 Feb 2, 2007 05:16 AM

                                      if it is soft to the feel it is ready--I like to bake it--cut in half-scoup out the seeds add a bit of butter and cinnamin and bake

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