Knowing When Papaya is Ready to Eat


Papaya fruits are harvested from the field once per week. Fruits are picked from the trees when they are 1/8 to 1/2 color change.  This is when the fruits have all the sugars and flavors for the “perfect” fruit, but not too ripe as to become soft before being delivered to our customers.  We try to pack a mix of color in each box, but during some times of the year our customers may receive greener fruit than expected.

No problem.  The fruits will continue to ripen and become fully golden orange when left out at room temperature (72 to 82 degrees is the approximate ambient temperature in Hawaii).  For recommendations on ripening greener fruit, please see below.




To determine when Papaya is at its peak, one should consider both color and flesh firmness.  Just like a banana, papaya is best when not too green and not too ripe. The PERFECT papaya is eaten at 3/4 golden orange with a bit of green remaining on the stem end.  And similar to an avocado, fruit texture is best when the papaya fruit gives slightly to a gentle squeeze.  At this point the fruit is ready for eating.  This is also the perfect stage to refrigerate the papayas because reducing the temperature will arrest the ripening process while maintaining the ideal texture and color for up to ten days.


We recommend to wash the papaya and cut about ½ inch off the stem end.  Then cut your papaya in half lengthwise.  With a spoon gently remove and discard the seeds or use the seeds in some recipes (see our recipes tab on main menu).  Your papaya half is ready to spoon out and eat “as is” or add a little lime juice to accent the flavor.  Just spoon out the flesh from the papaya half leaving the skin intact.  The papaya half makes a perfect bowl for all kinds of fillings: yogurt, tuna salad or even ice cream.  (See our recipes tab on main menu)


If your papaya is not quite ripe, there are a few simple steps you can take to help ripen your papaya at home.

The first step in ripening a greener papaya is to place it in a paper bag with a ripe banana or apple. This will help to speed up the ripening process by releasing ethylene gas, a natural ripening agent. The papaya should be kept at room temperature and checked daily for ripeness. Once the papaya has started to turn golden orange and soften, it can be removed from the bag and eaten.

Another method for ripening is to wrap papaya in a newspaper and store it in a warm, dark place, such as a pantry or kitchen cupboard. Keep in mind that papayas are grown in tropical climates, so the temperature of a colder environment can affect the ripening process. Papaya wants to be in a warmer space, so a cupboard is ideal. Be sure to check the papaya daily for ripeness, as it can quickly become overripe. When it is 3/4 golden orange, cut it open and enjoy.

The colder the temperature, the slower the ripening process.  At 72 to 82 degrees a 1/8 color fruit should be ready to eat (3/4 color) in 3 to 4 days. If you live in a colder climate and your countertops are cold to the touch this will definitely slow the time it takes to ripen properly.

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