How to Cut a Papaya

Originally from the Americas (southern Mexico and Central America), papaya is now widely cultivated in tropical and subtropical regions across the globe. Especially in Southeast Asia, people here eat both ripe and unripe papaya. Ripe papaya is a favorite tropical fruit to eat raw or make juice and smoothies, while unripe papaya can be a unique component in salads, stir-fries, and soups. Let me show you how to cut a papaya that you can apply to both ripe and unripe ones for various dishes, from savory to sweet.

What is Papaya?

There are many types of papaya. However, in general, papaya trees are relatively small compared to many other fruit trees. They typically reach a height of 10 to 30 feet (3 to 9 meters), although some can grow taller under optimal conditions. The tree has a single stem or trunk, which is often unbranched or sparsely branched.

Papaya trees are dioecious, meaning they have separate male and female plants. The male papaya tree produces small, fragrant flowers with five white to cream-colored petals. The female papaya tree produces larger, less fragrant flowers with a swollen base that will develop into the fruit if pollinated. When the fruit develops, it can grow from the size of a thumb to a large pear shape, ranging from 6 to 20 inches (15 to 50 centimeters) in length.

how to cut a papaya
A green papaya

Green Papaya

The unripe papaya is green in color, with a firm and crisp texture and slightly sweet taste. The sap in green papaya makes it a bit bitter; therefore, when preparing it as food, people usually rinse it several times with salty water to remove the sap. The most well-known dishes featuring green papaya are Thailand’s Som Tum and Vietnamese Goi Du Du, all meaning “Green Papaya Salad”. Furthermore, green papaya is also a great ingredient used in various dishes, including pickles, bun cha Hanoi, and Vietnamse green papaya soup.

The green papaya fruit also contains quite a lot of papain, which can be used for tenderizing meat.

Ripe Papaya

On the other hand, ripe papaya is known for its sweet and slightly musky flavor, vibrant orange or yellow flesh. When a papaya is ripe, the skin turns from green to yellow. It’s very soft, juicy, and sweet. Its texture is quite similar to a soft ripe mango, while the taste is like that of a melon.

Papayas are also a rich source of vitamins and minerals, particularly vitamin C and vitamin A. They are also a good source of dietary fiber and contain antioxidants, such as beta-carotene and lycopene.

With the information above, I hope you are clear about this tropical fruit. Papaya is never absent in any of our family’s feasts, so I have a lot of experience dealing with both ripe and unripe papaya. Let me show you.

How to Cut a Papaya

There are some differences between unripe and ripe papaya. Unripe papaya is firmer, so it is easier to cut than a soft ripe papaya. The cutting process is the same, but you should be more careful when cutting a ripe one.

Step 1. Peel the skin

  • You can use a peeler or a small knife. Place the papaya on a surface, or hold it in one hand, and peel until the skin is completely removed. With ripe papaya, I recommend placing it on a surface because it’s very soft and slippery.
how to cut a papaya

Step 2. Cut into quarters

  • Once peeled, place it on a cutting board and cut it into 4 equal pieces.
how to cut a papaya

Step 3. Remove the seeds

  • The seeds of papaya are also very soft and bitter, so you should remove them carefully. With unripe papaya, use a knife to remove part of the seeds. For the seeds remaining, you can use a small spoon to scoop them out. For ripe papaya, you can simply use a spoon to remove all the small round seeds.
how to cut a papaya

Step 4. Cut into pieces

  • Depending on your purpose, you can either cut it into bite-size pieces or julienne it. Usually, to eat as a fruit (ripe papaya), or to make papaya soup (unripe green papaya), cut it into pieces. For pickling, such as making the pickle used in Bun Cha Hanoi (Vietnamese Meatballs with Vermicelli), slice it thinly or julienne it. In salads, people always julienne green papaya.
  • To cut papaya into pieces, make a horizontal cut on each quarter. Each piece should be 1 to 1.5 inches thick.
  • To slice it, also cut horizontally to get trapezoid slices of green papaya.
  • To julienne it, you can use a multifunction peeler/grater, or slice it vertically then cut it into juliennes with a knife.
how to cut a papaya

Step 5. Processing and storing

  • With green papaya juliennes/slices for making salads and pickles, you need to rinse it in cold salty water several times to remove sap and make it crispier. Ripe papaya can be eaten right away.
  • Store papaya in sealed boxes/containers and remember to consume it within 5 days.
how to cut a papaya

How to Cut a Papaya

Yield: 2
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 15 minutes

Let me show you how to cut a papaya that you can apply on both ripe and unripe ones for various dishes, from savory to sweet.

Ingredients

  • 1 ripe papaya or green papaya
  • Tools: knife, cutting board, container

Instructions

There are some differences from unripe and ripe papaya. Unripe papaya is firmer, so easier to cut than a soft ripe papaya. The cutting process is the same, but you should be more careful when cutting a ripe one.

Step 1. Peel the skin

  • You can use a peeler or a small knife. Place it on a surface, or hold it in one hand, and peel until the skin is removed completely. With ripe papaya, I recommend placing it on a surface because it’s very soft and slippery.how to cut a papaya

Step 2. Cut into quarters

  • Once peeled, place it on a cutting board and cut it into 4 equal pieces.how to cut a papaya

Step 3. Remove the seeds

  • The seeds of papaya are also very soft, and bitter, so you should remove it carefully. With unripe papaya, use a knife to remove part of the seeds. With the seeds remaining, you can use small spoon to scoop them. For ripe papaya, you can only use a spoon to remove all the small round seeds.how to cut a papaya

Step 4. Cut into pieces

  • Depend on your purpose, you can either cut it into bite-size pieces or julienne it. Usually, to eat as a fruit (ripe papaya), or to make papaya soup (unripe green papaya), cut it into pieces. For pickling, such as making the pickle used in Bun Cha (Vietnamese Meatballs with Vermicelli), slice it thinly, or julienne. In salad, people always julienne green papaya.
  • To cut papaya into pieces, make horizontal cut on each quarter. Each piece should be 1 to 1.5 inch thick.how to cut a papaya
  • To slice, also cut horizontally to get trapezoid slices of green papaya.
  • To julienne, you can use a multifunction peeler/grater, or slice vertically then cut into juliennes with a knife.Vietnamese Green Papaya Salad

Step 5. Processing and storing

  • With green papaya juliennes/slices for making salads and pickles, you need to rinse it in cold salty water several time to remove sap and make it crispier. Ripe papaya can be eaten right away.Vietnamese Green Papaya Salad
  • Store papaya in sealed boxes/container and remember to consume it within 5 days. how to cut a papaya

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Nutrition Information:
Yield: 2 Serving Size: 200g
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 80

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