Papayas are sold year-round but their peak season is late spring to early autumn. Also known a pawpaw, papaya is a large, thin-skinned tropical fruit with smooth flesh which may be yellow, pink or orange, depending on variety, and a hollow center filled with large, black seeds. Pawpaw tends to have a long oval shape compared to papaya which tends to be more pear shaped. The taste of a ripe papaya is unforgettable - musky-sweet yet mildly bitter, and distinctly floral. The black seeds, which are usually discarded, are edible and have a peppery flavour. The soft flesh is best enjoyed raw, tossed through fruit salads, whipped into orange-based drinks or just spooned directly from its skin. To Prepare: At its simplest, which many people consider its best, papaya needs only halving, the seeds removing, peeling and cutting into wedges or cubes. To Store: Once ripe, a papaya should be refrigerated, double wrapped in plastic or in a covered container so that it will not perfume other food, for up to 3 days. Cut papaya should be stored in the same way for up to 2 days.
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