Ever been confronted with a large papaya in the grocery store and your first thought is "I wish I could buy it" followed by "Papayas sure make a mess" in the kitchen?
Here are some easy tips on to break it down (chef speak for cutting it up so that you can use it for cooking) a papaya without dropping a single papaya seed on your cutting board and getting all the yummy green or pink-orange goodness out of the fruit.
- Top and tail the papaya (chef speak for: slicing the top and bottom off, forming flat surface on each end - Pictured right).
- Stand the papaya on one of the flat ends.
- Hold one side of the papaya, using a boning knife or filet knife in the other hand, slice down from top to bottom alongside the papaya, trying to get only the skin off and without removing any pink (if ripened). Continue to circulate the papaya around, moving the papaya with your non-knife holding hand and continuing to remove all the skin with the other.
- Once all the skin is removed, change knifes and use a chefs knife or veggie knife. Slice down in the same motion as before, but this time, cut about a 1/4 inch into the pink. You'll be removing long strips of papaya, a few inches wide(Pictured Right).
- Once you have gone all the way around the papaya, start the process over again, going another 1/4 inch into the papaya. Be gentle, you are probably starting to feel that papaya in your non-knife holding hand is much lighter and if you push in the sides, it feels like it is hollow. Don't squeeze to hard though because it is full of seeds and one hole in the papaya can explunge dozens of seeds all over your cutting board.
- If you happen to slice into seeds, stop cutting. Start at the top again and move down along the papaya, perhaps only an 1/8 th inch in, keeping the seeds in the papaya and off your cutting board. Stop slicing once you have spun the papaya around 2-4 times and you can't cut off anything without cutting into seeds.