Papaya has a way of making people pick sides—usually, you either love it or you hate it. For those who enjoy the taste of papaya, it’s a delicious and healthy fruit.
Whether you have a papaya tree in the backyard or you pick yours up from the store, a common question that papaya lovers have is;
Can you freeze papaya? The answer is yes! Frozen papaya is great for things like smoothies, and it helps the fruit last longer, so you can enjoy it for weeks or months after first cutting into it.
If you want to know more about how to freeze papaya, keep reading for freezing steps and more.
How to Freeze Papaya
Too many people will try to freeze their fresh fruit and wind up with freezer-burned, unusable produce. Follow the instructions below to get perfectly frozen papaya to use however you’d like.
1. Gather Materials
First, you’ll want to gather your materials, so you know you have everything you need. It doesn’t take much to freeze papaya; just make sure you have a large enough baking sheet or plate and freezer-safe bags.
2. Flash Freeze
First, you’ll want to flash freeze the fruit to help preserve the texture and avoid freezer burn. It also keeps them from freezing as one large mass.
To do this, place the pieces of fresh papaya out on your baking sheet or large plate. Leave enough room between the pieces, so they aren’t touching each other. If they touch, they’ll likely freeze together, which can make them difficult to separate.
Place the sheet tray or plate into the freezer and leave them there for about an hour. Feel free to check on the papaya around the 40-minute mark to see if they’ve turned solid. Remove them once hardened.
Next, you’ll want to protect the papaya by placing it in freezer-safe containers. A container or freezer bag will reduce the risk of freezer burn. For the most protection, consider using vacuum-sealed bags. Vacuum-sealed bags remove all air from the container to guarantee fresh storage.
With your papaya chunks in containers or bags, they’re almost ready to go into the freezer for safekeeping. The labeling step is skipped by a lot of people, but it helps to know what you have in your freezer. Labeling the date you added the fruit to the freezer is also helpful as you clean out your freezer and determine what stays and what goes.
Last but not least, you can place your labeled, freezer-safe containers into the freezer. Try to keep the label visible; otherwise, you may end up moving things around and losing your fruit behind other items.
Why Freezing Papaya Is a Smart Idea
Freezing papaya, like any other fresh fruit, is a popular thing to do. There are multiple ways to use frozen papaya, but the first thing that usually comes to mind is smoothies.
Freezing papaya extends the storage life of fresh fruit by weeks or months. While fresh fruit needs to be eaten and enjoyed quickly, frozen fruit can sit there for months without damage when stored properly.
If you have a papaya tree and don’t want your extra fruit to go to waste, freezing the papaya is a great way to use what you have.
Alternatively, sometimes papayas are rather large. It can be difficult for one person to eat it all at once. Freezing part of the fruit that is leftover gives you more time to enjoy the fruit without feeling rushed to eat it before it goes bad.
Thawing Frozen Papaya
If you plan to use the fruit to create a puree or a jam, that’s not a problem. However, eating it thawed as it is may not be the experience you’re anticipating.
If you’re someone who prefers to thaw your papaya before enjoying it, here’s what you need to do to defrost it properly:
- Choose to defrost in the refrigerator or on the counter.
- Leave it in the refrigerator overnight or for 24 hours.
- If you choose the counter, leave the frozen chunks on the counter for a couple of hours.
It’s smart to place a paper towel or rag beneath the thawing fruit, as excess water may leak out.
How to Pick a Ripe Papaya
Ideally, you’ll find papaya with yellow or orange skin. If they only have papaya with green skin, they are not ripe.
Once you find one that’s the right color, pick it up and hold it. Fresh and ready-to-freeze papaya will slightly yield under the pressure of your thumb.
Even if you only see unripened papayas, don’t fear. Unripened papayas will ripen once they’re picked. Just set the unripened papaya on the counter or in the refrigerator for a few days.
How to Cut a Fresh Papaya
Can you freeze papaya whole? It’s not recommended. Instead, cut it as chunks and then freeze.
To cut your papaya into the right-sized chunks to freeze, here’s what you’ll do:
- Cut down the center of the fruit lengthwise on a cutting board.
- Scoop out the seeds and strings from the middle of the fruit with a spoon or fork.
- Slice the papaya into long skinny strips lengthwise.
- Cut those strips into 5-6 smaller chunks.
It’s up to you whether you remove the skin or keep it on your chunks before freezing.
How to Use Frozen Papaya
There are many different ways to enjoy frozen papaya:
- Blend it with juice to make a smoothie – or make it thicker like a smoothie bowl.
- Dip them in yogurt for a tasty cold treat.
- Add them to desserts.
- Snack on frozen chunks during the summer for a cool down.
You can also thaw them, as mentioned above. Thawed papaya is perfect for a puree.
Get More Out Of Your Fresh Papaya By Freezing
Extend the shelf life of your fresh papaya by freezing the fruit soon after cutting. These little fruit bites become perfect for smoothies, bowls, desserts, and more.
Learn More About Freezing Food: