Papaya is a sweet tropical fruit that has beautiful soft orange flesh. Ripe papayas are packed with antioxidants and minerals that make them great additions to any diet. Papayas can be enjoyed in a myriad of ways, including juices, smoothies and in fruit salads.
Papayas are best purchased when semi ripe to prevent them being squished or bruised. Because of this, you’re unlikely to see ready to eat ripe papayas in the market or on the shelves of your grocery store.
But how do you quickly ripen your papaya so you can enjoy their sweet goodness?
Continue reading for some great tips that will have you enjoying ripe and succulent papaya in no time.
How Do You Tell If Papayas are Ripe?
An unripe papaya will be bitter and lack flavor. It will also be too hard to enjoy.
One of the main ways to tell if a papaya is ripe, is by gently but firmly touching the fruit. If your finger leaves an indentation, then the fruit is ready to be consumed. If it doesn’t give way at all, then it probably needs another day or two.
Another way to tell is by the smell. A ripe papaya will give off a sweet fruity aroma that can permeate your entire kitchen.
The final and possibly the most foolproof way to tell when a papaya is ripe is by the color of its skin. Most varieties of papaya are green when young and yellow or orange when ripe. Once the fruit has a uniform yellow orange color then it should be ready to eat.
Note however that there are a few varieties that are still green when ripe, so you will need to use the smell and touch methods to test these for ripeness.
3 Best Ways to Ripen Papayas Quickly
Now that we know how to tell when a papaya is ripe, how do we go about speeding up the ripening process for that papaya that’s not quite there yet.
Well there are quite a few methods, but not to worry, we’ll provide guidelines on each so you can choose the one that’s best for you.
Place in Warm Temperature
Fruits ripen faster in warm and humid temperatures. To ripen your papaya quickly, place it in the warmest room of your house (which will likely be the kitchen).
Papayas will ripen in as little as two to three days if they are kept at a constant temperature between 55 to 65 F.
Lower temperatures stop the ripening process, so avoid keeping unripe papayas in temperatures below 45 F.
Place in a Paper Bag with a Banana or Apple
Another quick method to ripen papayas is the paper bag method. This will work for a variety of fruits and not just papayas. You simply need to place the fruit in a paper bag, wrap it up and put it in a dark area.
To speed up the process, you can place a ripe banana or apple in the paper bag. These are ethylene producing fruits.
Ethylene is a hormone that acts as a plant growth regulator. It accelerates the development process in plants including the ripening process.
Placing an ethylene producing fruit in the paper bag with the papaya could have it ready to eat in as little as one day.
Submerge in Rice
While this method is not as well known as the paper bag method, it can be quite effective. The rice will trap the ethylene produced by the fruit and speed up the ripening process.
This method is most popular in Indian households where it’s used to ripen mangoes. It can however be used for other fruits, including papayas.