Papaya is an amazing fruit. Whether you are saving it for yogurt, smoothie, Thai fruit salad, or as a snack itself, there’s always room for these oranges (if it’s ripe?) creamy fruits in our stomach.
But what if our own stomach has run out of “storage”? Surely there must be a solution on how to store papaya in our kitchen, be it in the fridge or at the counter? If you’re one of the many who has leftover ripe or unripe papaya lying in the kitchen but not sure how to store them for a long time or what’s their shelf life, then this article may be right for you!
Papaya, like many other tropical fruits, doesn’t last for months. This fact is further accelerated by bad practices such as leaving papaya on your kitchen countertop or pantry. Here’s a hint on how long ripe papaya could last on your kitchen countertop – 3 days!
So what are the tips on storing these papayas, be it unripe or ripe, and what should you be looking out for? Follow this article through to find out more about the ways of storing papayas and knowing their shelf life so that you can better prepare yourself for their storage methods.
Table of Content
- The Degree of Papaya Ripeness
- How to Store Papaya
- Does Papaya Go Bad
The Degree of Papaya Ripeness
Before you proceed on to think about the appropriate storage method for your leftover papaya, there’s one crucial pointer that you have to take note of – the degree of ripeness of your papaya!
To do that, you should take into consideration the following signs:
- Color – If your papaya is mostly green, it’s still unripe. A combination of green and yellow/orange means the papaya is half ripe, and if it’s mostly yellow or orange means it’s perfect to be eaten!
- Feel – The papaya should give a little under gentle pressure but yet firm at the same time.
The thing about papaya is that even if you cut open the papaya prematurely, the flesh inside will still be soft and sweet. Only the outermost part will be quite firm and bitter-tasting. The outermost parts are often referred to as the area near the rind that is yellowish.
How to Store Papaya
Unripe papayas – Leave unripe papaya at room temperature on your kitchen countertop. They will ripen in a few days, depending on the size and variety of fruit. Green and firm ones will take much longer than those which are half yellow and softer to press. Make sure to check the ripeness once a day.
*Here’s a bonus tip: If you want to accelerate the ripening process, you can place the unripe papaya in a paper bag with a banana (acts as an ethylene-producing fruit). You will see things speed up as the gas produced from the banana help regulate the fruit ripening process by coordinating the expression of genes that are responsible for many processes such as changes in color etc.
Ripe papaya – The optimal storage temperature for storing ripe papaya is around 12 degrees Celsius. Hence, your best bet would be to place them in your fridge. Never leave ripe papaya at room temperature as it’ll turn overripe much faster.
Cut papaya – Like any other cut fruit, papaya that has been cut should sit in the refrigerator in a closed container.
Does Papaya Go Bad
Yes, almost everything that exists in this world goes bad over time. Papaya is no exception. You can increase the shelf life of papaya by storing it correctly, but eventually, it will still come to a point where it goes bad.
How to Know if Papaya Has Gone bad
Before you start using or adding this orange wonder to your recipe, make sure it’s suitable for consumption!
Confused? Don’t worry as I’ll be sharing with you the top signs to know if your papaya has gone bad! Do check for the following signs:
- Dark stains and spots
- Papaya with extra soft and sunken skin
- Fermented smell
- Bitter taste
How Long Do Papayas Last
How long papayas last depends largely on their degree of ripeness. For unripe papayas, they take between a couple of days to even a week to ripen.
Once ripen, it’s best to consume the papayas within that 3 days. That doesn’t necessarily mean the papaya would go bad after the third day. Instead, it’ll slowly turn over-ripe within the 5th to 7th day from the time it turned ripe. If you decide to leave your ripe papaya on the countertop instead, expect it to start declining rapidly within a couple of days.
If you store cut papaya in a sealed container in the fridge, it should be able to last for at least 2 to 3 days.
|Unripe papaya||1-7 days until ripe|
|Ripe papaya||3 days||5-7 days, up to 3 weeks if uncut and unpeeled|
|Cut papaya||2-3 days|
Can You Freeze Papaya
If you find yourself needing to store the papaya beyond a week’s time frame, consider freezing the papaya! You can definitely freeze papaya, but you have to take note of the downsides.
After freezing and defrosting, the papaya flesh would be softer than fresh ripe papaya. That means the papaya flesh would turn out to be watery and mushy. This may seem unpleasant but it shouldn’t deter you from making your next smoothie!
If, however you’re still adamant about extending the shelf life of your newly-bought papaya, go ahead and freeze the papaya!
But before you proceed to freeze papaya, you have to remember to only freeze papayas that are fully ripe. If your papaya is still green, you’d still have to wait for it to turn ripe before you freeze it!
How to Freeze Papaya
Once the papaya is ripe and ready for freezing, you may start to follow these steps:
- Wash papaya – Quickly rinse whole papaya under cooling water to remove excess dirt
- Cut papaya – Cut the papaya in half lengthwise
- Remove seeds – Using a spoon, scoop out the seeds and discard them as you will be cutting the papaya into cubes
- Quarter the papaya and remove the skin – Cut the half papaya into quarters to save yourself the trouble of peeling the skin later on
- Cut the papaya into cubes – The size of the papaya cube will determine how long it takes to freeze the papaya
- Place papaya cubes into a freezer bag – transfer the cut papaya into a freezer bag or airtight container. If possible, use a vacuum sealer to remove all the air from the bag.
- Place the freezer bag into the freezer – The frozen papaya can be stored in the freezer up to one year. One tip would be to write the date onto the freezer bag, so you know exactly when you froze them!
So there you have it – storing papaya requires you to know more about the degree of ripeness of papaya before you decide on the appropriate storing methods. Whether it’s using the papaya 3, 5, or 7 days after purchasing from the local market, this blog post has got you covered! Harnessing on this knowledge can help you prolong the life of your newly-bought papaya for different needs, bringing you the optimal flavor and nutrition out of this wonderful creamy wonder!