If you've traveled anywhere near Hawaii, Mexico or Central America, then chances are you've probably tasted papaya. Papaya is one of the few fruits available all year long and tastes absolutely delicious, but what is papaya?

What is papaya and when is it ripe?


Chasqui (Luis Tamayo) on Flickr

This rich, yellow-colored fruit that is native to Southern Mexico tastes like nothing less than the tropics. Papaya is a soft, minimally sweet and slightly musky fruit that, when eaten at its peak ripeness, is super tasty.

So, when is papaya perfectly ripe? Look for a yellow-colored fruit, with a sweet smell near the stem, and an overall pear shape, that's when the papaya is at its best. To stay clear of an over/under-ripe papaya, avoid deep orange coloring, bruises and a fermented odor.

How can I keep papaya fresh?


Japanexperterna.se on Flickr

To ensure your papaya stays fresh (and tasty) make sure to take the right steps when storing these babies. If the fruit is under-ripe, let it sit out for a few days at room temperature and wait until it feels firm. If it's just perfectly ripe, the life can be extended by a few days by placing it in the refridgerator. Papaya is best eaten within a few days after purchase.

How can I enjoy papaya?

Spicy Green Papaya Salad

Maggie Hoffman on Flickr

There's many, many ways to enjoy papaya and if you really wanted, it could be enjoyed for every meal of the day. For breakfast, papayas are best served with honey as a side. For lunch, try adding papaya into a smoothie for a delicious new taste. And for dinner, a papaya salad will be your new go-to. 

Here's another use for papaya: face masks. Just like brown sugar and honey, papaya is a refreshing way to revamp your skin.

Do papayas contain nutritional value?


kaige on Flickr

The best part about this exotic fruit isn't the flavor or the fact that it's great for your skin, but it's actually incredibly nutritious as well. Overall, an average papaya contains 224% vitamin C, 26% folate and 19% fiber of the percent daily value. They are also packed full of vitamin A, magnesium, copper and pantothenic acid.

Both vitamin C and vitamin A help to prevent chlosterol oxidation, a main cause of heart disease. This means that, not only are papayas full of your % DV, but they are a potential protection against heart diseases.

Papayas are also known to promote digestive health and immune support, due to the high nutrious value. But it doesn't stop there, papayas protect against arthritis, prostate cancer, and macular degeneration as well.


nina.jsc on Flickr

Clearly, papayas don't dissapoint. So the question of what papaya is has obviously been answered. They are a tasty and nutritious fruit that are one step ahead of the game.