Opinions about the taste and smell of papaya are divided.
While some people love papaya, others think it smells like various unpleasant things from rotten salmon to vomit.
So why is there so much difference in how people experience it?
In this article we’ll cover why people experience papaya differently and how best to eat it.
What Does Papaya Taste Like?
The taste of this tropical fruit depends on how ripe it is.
If properly ripened, you’re in for a delicate treat. It has a mild to fairly sweet flavor and a creamy, butter-like texture.
A ripe papaya’s flesh melts in your mouth, although larger varieties have slightly firmer flesh. People say ripe papaya tastes like cantaloupe melon or tropical mango.
On the other hand, unripe papaya has little to no flavor. Some people describe it as bland or bad.
It also has an unpleasant smell. The reason for this is due to an enzyme called papain. Green on unripe papayas have a crunchy texture and are often used in Asian cuisine.
Overripe papaya adds too intense muskiness to the flavor of the fruit. The flesh is too soft and mushy.
How to Tell If a Papaya is Ripe?
Picking perfectly ripe papaya can be a bit challenging. That’s why knowing what to look for can help you find the right one.
The first thing to look for is yellow or orange-yellow skin with minimal blemishes. Check for any holes, deep scratches, and dents. It’s ok if it has minimal green specks and spots.
The smell of papaya is another thing to look out for. Focus on the stem portion and if it has an unpleasant smell it means the papaya is overripe.
If it has a sweet aroma near the stem, it means it’s ripe. Papaya with no smell near the stem is under-ripe.
A delicious, ripe papaya should be fairly soft on the outside. However, soft and mushy flesh near the base means the papaya is overripe.
Is Papaya Good for You?
Papaya is excellent for the digestive system. It’s a lightweight fruit low in calories but high in antioxidants, dietary fiber, and good digestive enzymes.
The dietary fiber content in papaya improves gastrointestinal health and protects against constipation. Some of the enzymes it contains, such as chymopapain and papain, encourage natural protein digestion.
Papaya’s digestive enzyme and fiber content can help you feel full for longer. Being low in calories, it aids weight loss while providing vital nutrients to your body.
It is a rich source of vitamin C, vitamin E, and other antioxidants.
Last but not least, the anti-inflammatory properties of the enzyme papain are good for inflammatory conditions.
How to Choose Papaya?
Look for a deep yellow colored papaya that’s neither too firm nor too soft or mushy.
It should be heavy for its size and yield to gentle pressure. Smell it near the base and pick the one that has a pleasant, sweet aroma.
Check the base of the papaya and make sure it doesn’t have any mildew or mold.
What to Do with Papaya?
Papaya is a versatile, creamy fruit that reminds of avocado.
You can use it to make different dishes and treats. People usually eat it raw when ripe, or use it for cooked meals when it’s unripe or green. They often combine it with some lemon juice.
You can use papaya to make a variety of delicious delicacies, including salads, salsas, dressings, soups, smoothies, dried snacks, fruit bowls, etc.
Papaya goes excellent with mango, kiwifruit, passionfruit, and different berries.
How to Store Papaya?
To ensure your papaya is fresh for longer, you should know how to properly store it.
If you’ve picked unripe papaya, let it sit on the counter at a temperature of around 20 to 25 degrees Celsius. This method works best for partially yellow papaya. Leave it here for a few days until it becomes a bright yellow, perfectly ripe papaya.
If you want to speed up the ripening process, store your papaya in a paper bag and put it in a dry place. Make sure you keep an eye on it all the time to prevent it from over-ripping.
Does Papaya Taste Like Vomit?
Some people say papaya tastes like vomit, but that’s because of the enzyme it produces called papain.
This enzyme is more abundant when the fruit is under-ripe or overripe. A ripe papaya tastes sweet, so it can only taste like vomit or any other unpleasant smell when it’s not perfectly ripe.
How Can I Prepare It?
Here’s how to prepare your ripe papaya to enjoy it raw.
Cut it in half lengthways. Scoop out the seeds with a spoon as you don’t need them unless you want to grow your own papaya.
Cut the flesh away from the fruit skin of both halves using a small sharp knife. Remove the skin and cut the flesh in slices. Enjoy.
You can also use it to make delicious smoothies, soups, salads, salsa, snacks, and dressings. Be creative and use it as your imagination tells you.