Fresh papaya is usually eaten raw or added to desserts, salads or hot dishes, but you can freeze the sweet, juicy tropical fruit without significant loss of flavor or quality. Freeze papaya on a baking sheet first to keep the pieces separate and prevent them from freezing in a block. Use the papaya for snacking, or stir it into smoothies or yogurt.
Rinse the papaya, then remove the skin with a paring knife or vegetable peeler, peeling from the wide end to the narrow end. Scoop out the seeds with a spoon.
Cut the papaya in wedges, slices or chunks. Place the pieces on a baking sheet and put the baking sheet in the freezer.
Remove the baking sheet from the freezer as soon as the papaya freezes solid. Transfer the frozen papaya to airtight freezer containers or resealable plastic bags. Label the container; then return the fruit to the freezer immediately.
- You can also freeze papaya puree. Place the peeled, chopped papaya in a blender or food processor, then blend the fruit with a small amount of water or fruit juice until the mixture is smooth. Spoon the puree into rigid freezer containers.
- A dark green, unripe papaya will not ripen after it's off the tree. However, a slightly unripe papaya will ripen on the kitchen counter at room temperature.
M.H. Dyer began her writing career as a staff writer at a community newspaper and is now a full-time commercial writer. She writes about a variety of topics, with a focus on sustainable, pesticide- and herbicide-free gardening. She is an Oregon State University Master Gardener and Master Naturalist and holds a Master of Fine Arts in creative nonfiction writing.