Recently our local Hispanic market (which is quickly becoming my regular grocery store) had Maradol papayas on sale. Maradol papayas, commonly from Mexico, ripen to a lovely yellow color and have a beautiful red flesh. Aside from being incredibly good for you, they also taste amazing.
Selecting a good papaya is easy. Choose one that is starting to ripen, by turning from green to yellow. It should be a little soft, but not spongy, on the sides and the ends. Avoid any that are spongy, particularly on the ends of the fruit.
After washing the papaya and patting it dry, you are ready to clean and cut the fruit.
Step 1: Seeds, Seeds, Seeds.
Stand the papaya up and slice it in half lengthwise, as shown in the photos. Using a spoon, gently remove the seeds from the fruit. Papaya is very soft, so be gentle with the spoon. Be sure to save the seeds, as they can be used in salad dressings, as a garnish, or crushed and used in place of pepper.
Step 2: Peeling.
Now that you have two halves of a papaya de-seeded, it is time to remove the outer skin. Some people use a vegetable/fruit peeler for this, but I find that the granton slicer I use for the rest of the process works just as well. Simply stand the halves up on their big end, and slice down slowly in 1-2" wide strips. Remember, the fruit is soft, so it doesn't take much force to slice the skin off.
Step 3: Slice, Cube, or Scoop?
Now that the papaya is cleaned and peeled, it can be sliced thin (for drying), sliced thick, cubed, scooped out with a melon baller or spoon. I don't recommended trying to eat it whole. :)
Enjoy your fresh papaya!
Not sure you can eat all that papaya before it goes bad? Check out my Dehydrated Papaya Instructable.