Papaya and Papaw: What are They and What to do With Them

Wondering what to do with these mysterious fruits? We have the answers, and some great tips to boot!  

These tropical fruits are the perfect addition to sweet and savoury dishes with their juicy texture and subtle, yet sweet flavour.

Alvin Quah, MasterChef Series Two contestant, has partnered with local growers for the third Year to encourage Aussies to break with tradition and rethink papaya and papaw.

“Whether you are cooking for a young family, your partner or just yourself, papaya and papaw are a delicious feature in mains, desserts and snacks. I love to marry the fruits with both light meats such as prawns, and rich meats like pork, and I also add it to my salsas for a fruity kick,” Quah suggests.

“Papaya and papaw are often mistaken as the same fruit, but they are quite different in taste and physical appearance. Red papaya is pear shaped with yellow-orange coloured skin and orange-red flesh. Not to be confused with yellow papaw which is larger, and has less of a sweet taste, with distinct yellow flesh and pale orange skin,” Quah explains.

Selection and Storage Tips

  • Ripe papaya and papaw will yield to pressure around the stem, similar to avocados and pears
  • Dark spots or blemishes, do not necessarily mean that the fruit is of poor quality. Red papaya and yellow papaw are fragile fruits that need to be handled carefully to prevent bruising
  • Choose red papayas and yellow papaws that are slightly soft to touch with skin that is almost completely yellow if you plan to eat them straight away and store them in the fridge
  • If you choose not to eat them straight away, select fruits with a yellow to green skin and allow them to ripen at room temperature for a few days before cutting 

Available all year round, red papaya and yellow papaw are an excellent source of vitamin C and also contain beta-carotene, which is good for healthy skin and the immune system.

For more inspiring recipes and information about red papaya and yellow papaw visit  

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