Papaya, sometimes known as pawpaw, is a tropical fruit that can be pear-shaped, cylindrical or nearly round. When ripe its skin is a deep yellow or orange, with similar coloured soft, sweet, fragrant flesh surrounding black edible seeds. Unripe papaya is green.
Choose golden, slightly soft papaya.
Store at room temperature for maximum flavour. If mottled green, allow to ripen.
Scoop out the seeds before serving. These can be eaten in savoury dishes. They have a peppery flavour and crunchy texture.
Papaya is very sweet and needs lemon or lime juice to bring out its flavour. Peel and seed and use in salsas and savoury salads mixed with fresh coriander, mango, chilli, fish, shellfish or meat. Ripe papaya is also good in tropical fruit salads and puréed in smoothies.
Use green papaya as a vegetable or turn into pickle. It is particularly good raw in Thai salads such as green papaya with sweet crispy pork.