Delicious, musky, tropical sweetness is what comes to mind when I attempt to describe the truly wonderful taste of papaya.  The high water content causes it to almost melt in your mouth – it's that juicy.  I get seriously excited about this fruit – it is one of the main staples of my diet – and when I am in a location where the quality is inconsistent,I eat less and notice a decline in my overall well being.

The skin of this extraordinary fruit it yellow to orange.  The flesh ranges in color from the palest yellow to almost red in color.  The purer the color the sweeter they tend to be.

The range in size varies greatly as well.  Some of the Hawaiians are slightly larger than fist size and the larger ones I have seen are like bombs.  All tend to have an oblong, tapered at the end sort of shape.

Common Varieties: 
  • Kamiya:  Firm, juicy, extra sweet with deep yellow skin and flesh
  • Mexican Red:  Medium sweetness with rose colored flesh
  • Mexican Yellow:  Medium sweetness, full of flavor with a yellow flesh
  • Solo:  Rounder in shape than others.  Reddish-orange, extra sweet flesh
  • Sunrise:  Reddish orange, extra sweet, extremely tasty
  • Vista Solo:  Orange to yellow-orange in color, less sweet
  • Waimanalo:  yellow-orange skin, sweet, high quality


When in season: 
How to select: 

A ripe papaya will be predominately yellow. The flesh will indent just a little bit when squeezed. Squeeze the papaya in the area that looks the least ripe. If it does not give in that area then it needs more time to ripen. It is OK if the skin is a bit beaten up, even with a tiny bit of mold. This does not affect the quality of the fruit inside. Avoid papaya with a lot of mold and soft spots.

How to eat: 

The easiest way to eat a papaya is to cut it in half, lengthwise, scoop out the seeds and use a spoon to scoop out the flesh and eat.  The skin, which is inedible – and terrible tasting – can be used as a bowl this way, holding all of the contents in place.

You can also slice the skin away from the flesh and then either cube or cut into long slices. 

Many people claim to believe that lime juice brings out the flavor.  I disagree. 

Also, you may read that the seeds are edible.  They are not.  They taste terrible too.  If a random seed gets lost in the flesh and you take a bite of it, you will know immediately, and your immediate instinct will be to spit it out.  Follow that instinct.

Papaya also makes a terrific smoothie.  It makes a good salad dressing base – with a little lime.  It is a good accompaniment to a tropical salad.

Native to: 

Southern Mexico/Central America

Medicinal uses: 
  • A paste is made and used as a topical pain reliever for stings, burns, scratches or rashes.
  • Papaya has enzymes that aid digestion.
  • Green papaya is a known abortificant.
  • Papayas have 50% more Potassium and 10 times more Vitamin C than oranges.
  • From the time the seed sprouts, a tree can bear fruit in as little as nine months.
Serving Size: 
One Medium Papaya, 5" Long
Caloric Ratio %