How to Tell If a Papaya is Ripe

The papaya is a tropical fruit that is healthy and sweet, but knowing how to tell if one is ripe can be challenging.

You will need

  • Keen senses
  • Papayas
  • Paper bag (optional)
  • Apple or banana (optional)

Step 1 Observe the papaya's color Look at the color of the papaya. Papayas are picked when they are still green and hard to minimize potential bruising during shipping. Buy a papaya when it is half green and half yellow. It will further ripen at home at room temperature and will be ready to eat when it is predominantly yellow.

Step 2 Note the stem end Examine the end where the stalk was. The papaya will ripen well if there is a yellow ring, but if the ring is green, it won’t ripen.

Step 3 Examine the papaya's skin Examine the papaya’s skin. Wrinkled skin will not affect the taste of the papaya, but sunken areas or bruises indicate rough handling during transit.

Step 4 Press the papaya Press on the papaya with your fingers. A ripe papaya should be soft and retain slight indentations, but a papaya that isn’t ripe will be hard. If it is too soft and mushy, it’s overripe.

Step 5 Smell the papaya Smell the papaya. A ripe papaya will smell faintly sweet. If the papaya has no scent, it isn’t ripe yet. But if it has a strong, sweet odor, it’s overripe.