Mature papaya is usually harvested once its skin slightly turn yellow. Organic papayas generally left to ripen on the tree; however, care should be taken since over-ripe fruits actually fall off from the tree on their own and get spoiled.
|Raw, unripe green papaya.|
In the markets, papayas come in various sizes and stages of maturity; therefore, select the one based on your serving size and timing. Choose the one with intact skin without any surface cracks, bruises or cuts. Unripe fruits can be kept at room temperature for few days but ripe ones should be stored inside the refrigerator. Bring it back to normal temperature when it is to be eaten to get its natural taste and flavor.
Unripe green papaya is cooked as a vegetable in many Asian and Pacific regions. However, it should not be eaten raw as it contains toxic alkaloids in its milky latex.