How to Select a Papaya
Select a papaya that is half green, half yellow and slightly soft to the touch. A papaya is ready to eat when it is predominately yellow. Check the area where the stalk was. If there is a yellow ring the fruit will ripen well, if the ring is green it will not ripen. Papayas that are solid green should not be purchased, unless you plan to cook with them. Avoid papayas that are bruised or overly soft, wrinkled skin will not impact the taste. A ripe papaya will have a faint sweet fragrance, no scent indicates an under ripe fruit, a strong sweet scent indicates an overripe fruit.
How to Store Papaya
Ripe whole papaya should be stored in a plastic bag in the refrigerator for up to a week.
Peel the papaya, slice lengthwise, and gently scoop out the seeds and then cut the slices into pieces. Pieces can be placed in a single layer on a baking sheet and placed in the freezer or frozen with sugar syrup. Mix 4 cups of water with 2 cups of sugar in a saucepan until the sugar dissolves and the solution comes to a boil. Allow the syrup to cool and then pour it over the papaya pieces. Place the papaya and syrup in an airtight freezer container and store in the freezer. Thawed papaya will be soft so eating it partially frozen or using it as a puree or juices are good options.
How to Ripen Papayas
If not picked too green, a papaya can ripen at home. They are best ripened at room temperature over a period of 2-3 days. Be sure to rotate or turn the papayas daily to insure they ripen evenly. Papayas do not ripen after they have been refrigerated so do not store them in the refrigerator until they are fully ripe.
To ripen a papaya more quickly place it in a brown paper bag with an apple or a banana and fold the top closed. Store the bag in a cool dry location, turning the fruit occasionally. The ethylene gas will help the fruit to ripen faster.
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