4 Ways To Tell If A Papaya Has Ripened

Papaya is one of the most authentic tasting fruits available. Its sweet tropical flavors are so versatile. They can be used in a variety of ways, from smoothies to milkshakes and most commonly, fruit snacks. With all of that being said, you might be asking yourself, how does a Papaya ripen?

It takes about 10 months for a papaya to develop on the tree and become ripe. During the ripening process, a papaya will change colors from green to yellow and grow to between 4 to 6 inches in length. While ripening a papaya feel will change firm to soft and the taste will turn from sour to sweet.

In this article, we are going to discuss the 4 easy ways for you to tell whether or not your papaya is ripe, underripe and even overripe. In addition, I’ll inform you of a papaya ripening tip so you don’t have to wait for it to ripen as long.

Smoothie Tip: Adding frozen papaya or fruit, instead of ice, enhances the flavor and nutrient content. In addition, I routinely add pomegranate juice to my smoothies along with green vegetable and carrot juice. The secret to an easy smoothie is having a blender powerful enough to handle the workload.

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The following are four ways to tell how a papaya is ripe.

1. The Size Of The Papaya

So this is one of the least efficient ways to tell whether or not a papaya is ripe. Although it’s still important to include in this article. When papaya farmers are harvesting their fruit, many times they don’t have the luxury to inspect every single papaya. That’s up to the next stage but while being harvested, they rely a lot on the size.

A papaya will be between 4 to 6 inches in length when ripe. This differs for each papaya, but it’s one of the first ways for you to see whether or not a papaya is ripe.

The next step will be to look at the color of the fruit which is the most important part when determining whether most fruit is right.

2. The Color Of The Papaya

Luckily with most fruits, they have a clear indicator as to whether or not they are ripe. When it comes to papaya, they are no different. Papaya changes color as it ripens and in this section, we are going to talk about how to easily tell if your papaya is ripe based on its color 1.

While the papaya is growing on the tree, it will be green. Once the papaya is ripe, it will have changed to a yellow color. Most of the time papaya will be picked when it’s yellow with a lot of green shading. By the time it gets to the consumer, it will be fully yellow and ready to eat.

If you have a papaya and it still has some green shading on it, it should still be fine to eat. However, if more than a third of the papaya is green, I recommend reading the bonus section at the bottom to find out how to ripen a papaya even more at home.

After a papaya has ripened, it can be frozen so it can last you a long time. Find out how to do it properly and read my blog post on the topic by clicking here, The Complete Guide To Freezing Papaya.

3. The Feel Of The Papaya

Another way to judge whether or not a papaya is ripe is to feel it. Yes, you can tell whether your papaya is ripe based on how it feels because there is a big difference 2. Therefore, if you have a papaya, get it ready and give it the touch test while reading the section.

When a papaya is unripe, it will be hard when you press a finger into it. When a papaya is ripe and ready to eat, you will be able to easily push your finger in and make a dent in the fruit.

You’ll need to only apply a little bit of pressure because it will still be slightly firm, just easier to press and make a small indentation. 

It’s important to note you should not press on the papaya too hard. All that you’re trying to do is feel whether or not it is ripe. The last thing you want to do while doing this test is to bruise the papaya.

A bruised papaya will not only look unpleasant when you remove the skin but it will also alter the taste of that area of the fruit. How will it affect the taste? It might become a little bit bitter to the taste on the bruised sections. So make sure to use only one finger while pressing and not more.

4. The Taste Of The Papaya

So, if all else fails and you decide to just go ahead and eat the papaya, you might notice an unpleasant taste if it’s not yet ripe. On the flip side of that, if the papaya is ripe, it will give you a beautiful tropical taste that’s sweet with a beautifully soft texture.

Luckily it’s easy to test whether or not something is ripe, underripe or even overripe. As mentioned above, a ripe papaya will be sweet with a beautifully soft texture but what about if it is under or overripe? Well, let’s take a look at what it will taste like.


When papaya is underripe, you will have a very distinct taste when eating the fruit and this is very important. So, let’s take a look at what an underripe papaya will taste like.

An underripe papaya will have a very distinct sour taste to it. This is because it still has a high acidic count. The sugar within the papaya has not had enough time to fully establish itself and influence the balance between acid and sugar.


Now that you know what an underripe papaya will taste like, let’s look at the other side of the spectrum. Therefore, in this section we’re going to quickly discuss what an overripe papaya will taste like. 

An overripe papaya will have a bitter taste to it. This is because much of its sugar has had too much time in the fruit and they have started losing their sweetness. It’s at this stage where the papaya will start to go bad.

BONUS: How To Ripen A Papaya At Home

I decided to add this little bonus section for anyone who has papayas at home not ripe yet. In this section, we’ll take a look at how you can ripen your papayas at home 3. In addition, I’m going to give you a little secret to speed up the process. Therefore, keep reading and follow these steps to ripen a papaya.

  • Place the papaya in a brown paper bag.
  • Keep the papaya at room temperature.
  • Keep the papaya in a dark cabinet in the brown paper bag. Make sure the cupboard is at least room temperature.
  • To speed up the process, you can use either a banana or an apple. Place the banana or the apple in the brown paper bag with the papaya and follow the steps above.

The gases from the banana or apple helps to speed up the ripening process. Once you have done all of this, you can check up on the papaya every day or even twice a day. The last thing that you want is for the papaya to sit there for too long and become overripe.

Once the papaya is ripe, place it in the fridge enjoy the fruit when you’re ready.

Papaya storage tip: A ripe papaya should be placed in the fridge where it can last up to one week. The colder temperatures slows down the ripening process 4. Store them separately from other fruit like apples which will speed up the ripening.

Papaya can be placed into the fridge whole or in pieces 5. If it’s in pieces, place them into an airtight container. If you’re not going to eat them in the next few days, you can freeze the pieces 6.

Wrapping The Papaya Up

Hopefully, you enjoyed our top 4 ways to tell whether or not a Papaya is ripe. In this article, as we always do, we tried going in-depth into each step so you can walk away from this article not having any further questions regarding the topic.

If you are curious about any other food storage, feel free to take a look at a few of our other articles.

Read Next – More Food Storage

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This Is How To Store Cinnamon

This Is How Long You Can Keep Fresh Asparagus

Article Resources: Foods For Anti-Aging follows strict guidelines to ensure our content is the highest journalistic standard. It's our mission to provide the reader with accurate, honest and unbiased guidance. Our content relies on medical associations, research institutions, government agencies and study resources. Learn more by reading our editorial policy.
  1. University of California: Fruit Produce Facts English: Papaya[]
  2. National Center for Biotechnology Information: Fast and Furious: Ethylene-Triggered Changes in the Metabolism of Papaya Fruit During Ripening[]
  3. Mexican Papayas: Papaya Storage[]
  4. University of Hawai’i: Papaya: Postharvast Quality-Maintenance Guidelines[]
  5. University of Florida: Papaya Growing in the Florida Home Landscape[]
  6. University of Wyoming:Papaya Power![]

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