discussion from the Chowhound General Discussion food community. Step 1. Don’t wait until the end becomes soft and mushy. Yep, its hand picking the fruit. Hardy only in U.S. Department of Agriculture plant hardiness zones 10 through 11, papaya won’t tolerate frost or near-freezing temperatures. The large pear-shaped fruits are berries that yield soft, juicy, flavorful flesh in pink, orange or red. Find more gardening information on Gardening Know How: Keep up to date with all that's happening in and around the garden. Squeeze the papaya. These will be sweeter, since papayas do not increase in sweetness after picking. If you are growing your papaya tree in the ground you should still use this method as it is a lot easier to harvest your papaya off your tree when it is in arms reach and not way up high in a tall tree. Here’s how to grow papaya in North Florida. The riper the papaya fruit becomes while on the plant, the more attractive it is to wildlife. As a matter of fact, papaya flowers blossom a few times in a year. These are the few tricks that will help you to know when is a papaya ripe?. If it is not ripe, it will smell raw and mildly salty. You can use a knife or pruners to make a clean cut. Refrigerate the fully ripe papaya for 4 to 7 days. If you are picking a papaya in a store from a whole bunch of them, then you need to look for certain characteristics. What Months Are Papaya Trees Ready for Picking? It’s not a real tree – it’s actually just a big fleshy plant that develops a woody stem over time. I'm too lazy to climb ladders to pick papayas, so if a tree gets too tall I just cut it down, about two feet of the ground. If you are growing a papaya tree in a container then it is vital that you do prune your tree in this way as it will help keep your papaya tree dwarf and a good size for growing in containers. While most species of papaya produce fruit that are yellow, others ripen into orange or red. It’s mature enough to pick when yellow coloring replaces from 20 to 33 percent of the fruit’s green peel color. He publishes online articles with major focus on pets, wildlife, gardening and fitness. Read the How to pick out a green papaya? He also covers parenting, juvenile science experiments, cooking and alternative/home remedies. You have to monitor the ripeness of the papaya first. Pick the fruit at the first sign of trouble. A papaya plant will mature in six to nine months if you live in a warm region but may take up to 11 months in cooler areas. Papaya is a tropical fruit with orange-colored, sweet flesh and edible seeds that have a pepper-like flavor. Scoop out the seeds and slice the fruit. It will be quite bulky, but hold it and smell it. That means you can pick as many fruits around 30 to 150 in 12 months. Read on for tips on how to know when it is time to start harvesting papaya fruit as well as information on papaya harvesting methods. Leave the papaya fruit on the plant to continue mellowing its flavor for as long as you can. The more it ripens the sweeter the fruit becomes. Sign up for our newsletter. Many people think of papaya (Carica papaya) as a tree, but it’s really a large herb with a tall barkless and branchless trunk crowned by a shock of large leaves. How to Know When a Papaya on a Tree Is Ready to Be Picked. Watch for signs of fruit flies, birds, bats and rodents. When you planted that young papaya plant in your backyard, you may have thought that papaya harvest time would never arrive. Christopher Columbus called the papaya “fruit of angels.” Give the papaya adequate time on the tree -- if you pick it too early, the taste will be bland. Its “trunk” is a single, hollow stalk that produces leaves and fruit at the top. Consider removing and replacing your papaya plant after a few years. Step 3. 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when to pick papaya

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