In all its glory, Papaya makes any dessert or dish good or delicious when it is added to whatever type of dish; it brings forth another level of feel, texture, deliciousness, and flavor that is sure to tickle the palette of individuals consuming it.
Papaya can also serve as a more aesthetic and decorative addition to a dish or table centerpiece on various occasions, especially when an art form is done in how it is cut or sliced.
Using the right tools and techniques, even a non-expert individual can cut or slice Papaya more creatively, appealing, and artistic.
What is a Papaya?
This tropical fruit hailed in native Mexico, Central and South America. It is bright orange in color and appearance. The size varies as well, depending on where it came from. The ones that hail from Hawaii are similar in size to that of pears. The Asian and Caribbean ones grow large same as watermelons.
The taste and feel are identical to a cantaloupe—sweet, tart, a little watery, and soft.
The benefits of consuming this fruit can lead to having amounts of antioxidants needed by the body like Vitamins A and C.
Fiber is also found in the Papaya, helping with digestive needs. Potassium for muscles and an enzyme called "papain" known for breaking down protein, fats, and carbohydrates into minimal amounts ideal for a healthy body.
Types of Papaya
Papaya is a renowned fruit and has different varieties depending on where it is grown and cultivated. Where they are harvested and coming from affects the taste, size, and appearance of the Papaya.
Here are some examples for a general idea:
Mexican Red or Yellow Papaya
Large and sweet with a rose-colored pulp.
Hawaiian Sunrise Papaya and Sunset Papaya
Red-Orange in flesh, thus also named Strawberry papaya, is what the sunrise papaya is known for. The Sunset Papaya is smaller yet has a longer shelf life.
The newest variety. It has yellow-green spotted skin and a dark orange pulp that is sweet in taste.
Royal Star Papaya
Another recently discovered variant. This Papaya has a sweet and juicy pulp and features orange skin.
Tools to Cut Papaya
Let's say a particular type of Papaya is now chosen as a part of a dish or for a more aesthetic and decorative centerpiece on the dinner table.
It may or may not be served as it is, depending on the individual's preference. But just in case it needs to be sliced or cut depending on the dish and style required, one should always be prepared for what tools are necessary in order to achieve the preferred cut or slice.
Here are some essential tools needed to be able to make the cut (for the Papaya):
A Cutting or Chopping Board
One that does not slip or change position whenever there is a strike done for cutting or slicing. The one with a so-called trench grove is ideal for gathering all the juices in the Papaya once the cut or slices are made.
A Sharp and Lightweight Knife
Either a chef's knife or a serrated knife is best for doing the job. Apart from being sharp for the most obvious reasons, it needs to be lightweight and get the job done quickly to make it effortlessly glide through the Papaya itself.
How to Get the Cutting Done
In reality, cutting a papaya or slicing it is a process and is done step by step. To start off, ensure to give the Papaya a good rinse and wash with water. Put it onto the chopping board and cut away depending on what is the preferred type of size or cut for the dish or the décor if to be used as a fruity centerpiece.
Here are some detailed ways of how to cut the Papaya depending on what it is for:
Papaya for Self-Consumption: Lengthwise or Crosswise
Upon cutting in half the Papaya, whether lengthwise or crosswise, use a spoon to scrape out the black seeds seen in the center of the Papaya.
Then get the other half of the Papaya, slice it thinly, or, depending on the size, preferred again, and now the slices can be easily consumed.
Papaya for Self-Consumption: Cubes or Ready to eat Slices
Place the newly peeled slices of Papaya on the cutting board and cut through in equal cubes along it. This way, it can be seen as a matchbox type of cube perfect for an on-the-go or ready to meat consumption.
This may also depend on the slices or cut preference of the Papaya when it comes to the size or thickness.
For a more common slice wherein it is in a shape of a smile, just simply cut through the Papaya from top to bottom and around it so that it opens like a blooming flower with individual slices of the Papaya ready to eat and consume.
This is best done with the cut of larger-sized papayas and not really deal with the smaller ones as they look may not be as appealing to the one eating them.
Papaya for Dishes: Chunks
With the now seedless Papaya, prepare to cut or slice through once more into half-creating quarters. Now, cut the Papaya into the preferred slice or cut off chunks needed for the dish as required or what size is fitting for comfortable consumption.
Large chunks are best for fruit salads.
Medium for the sole consumption of the Papaya and adding it to smoothies and sorbet.
Smaller ones are to be used for garnish or salsa or as an accent to a dish.
Papaya for Dishes: Thin Strips
In some Asian dishes, Papaya is sliced into thin strips and served as a side dish along with other vegetables and spices.
To be able to achieve this, have the Papaya sliced or cut into thin strips by gliding the knife straight into the prepared and peeled Papaya.
Measure the cutting or slicing of the thin strips of the Papaya like a julienne type of cut uniformly. However, this may still depend on how the individual wants it and what the dish requires.
Papaya for Dishes: Paper Thin Strips
For this technique, it may need a little more caution and professional skills from the one cutting it, but it is much doable.
To start off, be sure to use an extra sharp and smooth chef's knife for this technique as this s is a much more skill demanding style as this is seen to be used in high-class restaurants or Michelin star dishes as an accent or garnish.
Gently rest the hand, not holding the knife as if squeezing it lightly by the palm, and slowly graze the blade horizontally through the palm of the hand and the Papaya.
For a much easier way, you may use a peeler to help out in doing the job.
Papaya For Decorations: Creative and Cute Shapes
This type of cutting demands creativity and skill almost equally.
Cutting the Papaya in different shapes can cater to becoming décor for any centerpiece, an accent or garnish for salads or side dishes, or a creative playtime activity for toddlers and kids, making them eat Papaya should they be a picky eater.
To do this, have a mold ready or prepared that can be a guide in doing this technique.
But if there is none, you may simply cut through the Papaya in your desired shape by imagining how the lines would go about.
If it is a heart, make two arches on top and an inverted triangular bottom below.
If, for example, a star, make five triangular points on the surface of the Papaya and cut accordingly.
Another cute and creative thing that can be done with papaya is a flower. Just make half circles around a circle in full, then cut accordingly, tracing the lines.
This way, an enjoyable and fun sight is made through the Papaya.
The Final Cut
In summary, choosing how to cut the Papaya is not necessarily strictly followed. It can still depend on the preference of the one consuming it or using it as a decoration.
Cutting and slicing Papaya doesn't need to be done as well by a professional. It can be done by individuals beginning to explore their ways in the kitchen and the culinary journey that go along with it. But should be practiced with caution as much as possible.
The tools used to achieve the goal of what the slice or cut is supposed to be can be quickly done when using the right tools or products. Generally, a sharp chef's knife for the general cutting and slicing of the Papaya can be used to create what the individual desires.
Other additional tools are also available, like peelers that can be used for the Papaya's skin.
Many options in kitchen tools and knives are out on the market these days, and it is essential to know which is which to be used in dealing with how to cut papaya.