Sweet and so mellow that it feels like it melts in the mouth, it’s certainly worth learning how to cut papaya.
After you have sliced it into easy-to-eat pieces, papaya can be served as a tasty, healthy snack. Or, if you like, it can be pressed into juice or incorporated into smoothies. And like many other tropical, brightly-colored fruits, slices of papaya can be added into different recipes. It doesn’t just make them pretty — it adds some great flavor as well.
Test your hands and your knife with these easy, quick papaya-cutting methods!
Is It Easy to Cut a Papaya?
Cutting a papaya is not at all difficult.
The skin isn’t very hard to slice through with a sharp chef’s knife. Its flesh is also yielding enough that it won’t cause you grief. Furthermore, the seeds in the middle are only loosely attached to the flesh by fragile fibers. They won’t impede your knife and throw you off like the tough stone of a mango or an avocado.
While cutting the fruit, the most ‘technically-challenging’ steps are the ones that involve carving the fruit into different shapes such as slices, wedges, or cubes. But even then, they are easy enough for most people to pick up on the first try.
How Do You Cut a Papaya?
There are dozens of ways to properly cut up a papaya. We can only show you a few styles today, though: cutting into slices, into wedges, or into cubes.
How to Cut Papaya Into Wedges
Large wedges are the simplest out of the trio to cut. This is the quickest method, too. Although the end results don’t look very aesthetically pleasing, this will do the trick if you want to dig into some papaya, stat.
Step 1: Wash and Cut Off the Top and Bottom
Wash the papaya in cold water to remove any dirt or residue from the outer skin.
After that, lay it sideways on the chopping board. Remove the stem and base by making cuts around ½ inch from the top and bottom of the fruit. If you have a large papaya, you can make a 1 inch cut.
Step 2: Cut in Half and Separate
Place your papaya on its side on the cutting board. With your sharp chef’s knife, make a single cut straight down the middle to split the fruit in half lengthwise.
Once the cut has been made, open up the fruit and separate it into two clean halves. Each should have a bundle of seeds collected in the center.
Step 3: De-Seed the Papaya
Use a spoon to scrape out all of the seeds within.
Don’t be too heavy-handed, however. You don’t want the spoon to accidentally cut into and pull away the edible flesh beneath the seeds. The flesh of a ripe (or overripe) papaya will be very soft, so it is quite easy for this to happen.
Step 4: Cut Each Half into Wedges
Make another lengthwise cut right down the middle of each half. The results are four separate quarter pieces.
At this point, you may choose to continue making similar lengthwise cuts into wedges of your preferred width.
Once you’re satisfied, proceed to remove the skin underneath each slice with a paring knife. Enjoy!
How to Cut Papaya Into Slices or Cubes
Small crescent slices or cubes are great for snacking. You can pile them into a bowl and set them on the counter to snack on throughout the day. Their beautiful shapes also make them great for garnishing recipes.
Step 1: Cut the Fruit in Half and De-Seed
Do the first three steps that are mentioned above. This includes washing the fruit, cutting off the top and bottom, then splitting the fruit in half. Afterward, use a spoon to scoop out all of the seeds from the inner cavity of each half.
Step 2: Peel Off the Skin
Stand one papaya half upright. The two flat surfaces created by cutting off the top or bottom will help you. Hold it still with your hand. Then, with your other hand, use your knife to slice the skin off from the top down.
Be careful while you’re doing this and don’t cut too deep into the edible flesh under the skin. You can lose a lot of the delicious fruit this way.
Alternatively, you may use a vegetable peeler if you don’t like doing it with a knife. Just realize that papayas have more robust skin than the likes of cucumbers or potatoes. Peeling this way may demand a little elbow grease.
Step 3: Cut into Slices or Cubes
Lay one de-skinned papaya hemisphere with its flat side down. All that’s left to do now is to make crosswise cuts to create crescent-shaped slices. Space out each cut to your desired width.
After you have cut the papaya into slices, if you want to make cubes, lay each slice sideways. Then, use a paring knife to carve them into cubes.
Set them out and either snack straight away or add them to your recipe.
How to Tell if a Papaya Is Ripe?
No matter what form the papaya comes in, unripe or ripe, the fruit is safe to eat.
The only notable differences between them are the color and the taste. Other than that, there’s no harm in eating unripe papaya. As a matter of fact, unripe papaya is often used in salads for its crunchiness.
But if you’re reading this guide, you’re likely seeking info on ripe papaya. So, here are the signs to look for while you’re shopping.
The coloring of the fruit is going to be the biggest give-away as to its ripeness. When the fruit begins to ripen, its outer skin will turn from a deep green to yellow. Depending on the type, you may also find spots that turn to a deep orange, as well.
A few green patches on the fruit is okay, so long as there aren’t too many of them.
A ripe papaya — similar to many other fruits like avocado — will have a little bit of give when you squeeze it. So, pick it up and press your thumbs against the skin. You should feel it yield to your thumbs a bit.
If the fruit feels very soft in the hand, chances are it’s overripe. An overripe papaya tastes musky and has a mushy texture. Give it a miss and move to the next one.
If you’re still unsure, smell the stem of the fruit. If there is a sweet scent emanating from the fruit, it is ready. If you don’t smell anything at all, it’s still unripe. And lastly, if you smell a very strong, fermented scent, the fruit has already gone past its prime and become overripe.
As you can see, it’s not difficult to learn how to cut papaya. All you really need is a ripe fruit and a little practice — you’ll be a pro in no time.
We hope these three methods have answered all of your questions. Try them out in your kitchen and share your experience in the comment section below!
Luna Regina is an accomplished writer and author who dedicates her career to empowering home cooks and making cooking effortless for everyone. She is the founder of HealthyKitchen101.com and HealthyRecipes101.com, where she works with her team to develop easy, nutritious recipes and help aspiring cooks choose the right kitchen appliances.