How Long Do Papayas Last? Storage Tips

Papaya is a very popular tropical fruit that’s known for its sweet flavor and nutritious. When it’s riped, papaya is delicious eating it fresh, making fruit smoothies, or desserts. Due to their high sugar content, papaya tends to go bad quickly once it’s riped. Therefore, most will wonder how long papayas last and how to keep them fresh longer.

So how long do papayas last? At room temperature, ripe papaya will last for 2-3 days, while unripe papaya will last 5-7 days. In the refrigerator, ripe papaya will last 5-7 days, while unripe papaya will last up to 2 weeks. In the freezer, ripe papaya will last 10-12 months.

Above is just an estimated time of long papaya should last under normal conditions. Other factors that affect their shelf life will be storage temperature, where it’s stored, and how it’s stored.

In this short article, we’ll go through the shelf life of papaya, proper storage, how to tell when papaya goes bad, and how to keep them fresh longer. If this is the information you’re looking for, keep reading.

Papaya Shelf Life

Room TemperatureRefrigeratorFreezer
Whole Papaya (ripe) last2-3 Days5-7 Days10-12 Months
Whole Papaya (unripe) last5-7 Days2 WeeksNot Recommended
Cut Papaya (ripe) last1-2 Hours5-7 Days10-12 Months
Puree lastN/AN/A1-2 Years

How Long Do Papayas Last?

Ripe Papaya

At room temperature, ripe papaya will last for 2 to 3 days. However, if the room temperature is hotter than normal, you can expect the papaya to have a shorter shelf life. Once the fruit is riped, it starts to become very sweet and soft.

On the other hand, if the room temperature is cooler than normal, the fruit will last much longer than 3 days. Usually, not very much, just by a couple of more days.

In the refrigerator, ripe papaya can last 5 to 7 days. Even though they are stored in the fridge, they will still continue to ripen. Therefore, it’s best to store them in an airtight container or a sealable plastic bag.

If it’s stored in the freezer, riped papaya will last for 10 to 12 months. They will last much longer if stored properly in an airtight container or a heavy-duty freezer bag. The less freezer burn occurs to the papaya, the longer they will last.

Unripe Papaya

At room temperature, unripe papaya will last for about 5 to 7 days. Again, the temperature will determine how long they will actually last. If the room temperature is very hot, they will have a shorter shelf life.

In the fridge, unripe papaya will for about 2 weeks. If the whole papaya is stored in the fridge, they should be stored in the crisper section of the fridge without any other fruits or vegetables stored with it. If you do, fruits such as apples and bananas will prematurely ripen the papaya.

Dried Papaya

Dried papaya will last for a year if it’s stored in the pantry or cabinet.  If the package has never been open, it can last much longer than a year.

As long as it’s sealed tightly after being open, it will last for a very long time.

In the fridge, dried papaya will last about a year as well. However, there’s really no advantages of storing them in the fridge. They have the same shelf life whether it’s stored in the fridge or the pantry. Dried papaya has been dehydrated to remove any moisture from the flesh. Therefore, since there isn’t any moisture in the papaya, bacteria can’t grow on them.

It’s always a good idea to keep the package sealed to prevent flies and other pests from feeding on the dried papaya.

fresh ripe papaya

Can Papaya Go Bad?

Like any other fruit, papaya will go bad. For this particular fruit, they tend to go bad really quickly when it ripens. This is due to the high sugar content it has.

The temperature where it’s stored is vital to how long they’ll stay fresh. If it’s really hot, you can expect them to ripen quickly and go bad quickly as well.

On the other hand, when the temperature is cooler, the fruit will actually last a little longer and tend to take awhile before it starts to go bad. This is the reason why it’s a good idea to put them in the fridge as soon as possible after the fruit has ripened.

How To Tell When Papaya Is Bad?

When papaya goes bad, there will be signs to look for. Below are signs to look for and if you can still eat them or they have to be thrown away.

The first thing to look for is the appearance of the papaya. When they start to go bad, the fruit will start to turn darker and have blemishes on them. If there are small dark spots or browning on the skin, you can cut away the bad part and eat the rest.

However, if there are dark spots and browning all over the papaya, more than likely, the flesh inside is bad as well. You should just throw it out.

As for the smell, bad papaya will have a rotten smell to it. This is due to the bacteria eating the flesh and causing it to rot. If it smells rotten or has any other smell than the sweet smell, you should discard the fruit. Eating it could make you sick due to the bacteria.

If the appearance seems fine and it doesn’t smell rotten, the last thing to check is the taste of it. Good papaya will have a sweet and flavorful taste to it. If it tastes bland or has no taste to it, it could mean the papaya hasn’t ripened completely yet or it’s bad. If it tastes bland, you can eat it or discard it. If it has an off taste or something that you’re not familiar with, it’s best to throw it out.

storing papaya

How To Store Papaya

Storing Ripe Papaya

For riped papaya, they should only be stored at room temperature if you’re planning to eat or use it within a couple of days. If you are, store them in the pantry or on the kitchen countertop. However, make sure to keep them away from direct sunlight and other heat sources. The heat could cause them to go bad prematurely.

To store riped papaya in the fridge, you can either store the fruit whole or cut them into smaller pieces. Since papaya is a very large fruit, it will take up a lot of spaces in the fridge. Therefore, if space is limited, cut, or slice the papaya into smaller pieces and store them in the fridge.

For cut or slice papaya, the fruit should be stored in an airtight container or a sealable plastic bag. Alternatively, you can store them in a bowl and cover it with cling wrapper.

By keeping them sealed, the air isn’t able to get to the flesh and cause them to go bad. Additionally, keeping them sealed will prevent the papaya from ripening prematurely due to other fruits and vegetables stored in the fridge. If they ripen prematurely, you’ll end up with bland tasting papaya.

Storing Unripe Papaya

At room temperature, unripe papaya should be stored away from direct sunlight and other heat sources. Additionally, never keep papaya together with other fruit that product ethylene such as apples and bananas. These fruits will prematurely ripen the papaya and you’ll end up with papaya that doesn’t have that sweet taste as it should.

On the other hand, if you want to ripen the papaya quickly, put the fruit in a paper brown bag along with an apple or banana. Depending on how warm the room is, it will ripen within a day or so.

In the fridge, it’s not recommended to store unripe papaya unless you’re planning to use it to make papaya salad or food that requires unripe papaya.

The cool temperature of the fridge will only slow down the ripening process of the fruit, but not completely stop the process. The papaya will continue to slowly ripen, but it will the flavor will not become sweeter. Therefore, if you’re planning to eat papaya fresh or use it in a drink or make a dessert, you’ll end up with a bland tasting fruit.

Can You Freeze Papaya?

Papaya can be frozen in the freezer and this tropical fruit freeze very well too. Papaya stored in the freezer can be stored as whole fruit, cut or sliced, or as a puree. The average shelf life for storage in the freezer is a year at which it retains its freshness. After that, it’s still safe to eat them, but the taste will not be as fresh as it should. This is due to the freezer burn when the papaya is stored too long in the freezer.

When freezing papaya, you should never freeze unripe papaya. They will freeze just like ripe papaya will, but the problem will be the taste. When the fruit is frozen, it will no longer be able to ripen. Therefore, when it thaw, instead of the sweet-tasting flesh that papaya should have, it will have no taste and a bit bitter too.

For ripe papaya, whether they are stored as whole fruit or cut, it should always be stored in an airtight container or a sealable freezer bag. The container is to prevent air from getting into the bag. The more air the frozen papaya is exposed to, the faster they will go bad due to the freezer burn.

For papaya puree, they are best stored in an airtight container. Storing puree will yield the longest shelf life. If the container is sealed properly and it’s not opened frequently, it can last way beyond 1 year.

unripe papaya

How To Keep Papaya Fresh Longer

Selecting Papaya

Whether you’re buying papaya from the grocery store, at the farmer’s market, or harvesting them yourself, the selection is the key to keeping them fresh longer. There are good quality papaya and bad ones as well.

Before buying papaya, check the quality of the fruit first. Papaya ripen quickly after it’s harvested so make sure you know what to do with them or they’ll end up sitting there and going bad.

When you’re at the grocery store, pick the papaya that’s yellowish in color. This is the fruit in the process of ripening. It’s not recommended to choose orange-colored papaya as those have completely ripened and probably start to going bad.

The green-colored papaya is a fruit that has not begun to ripen yet. Some people choose this color to make papaya salad as it requires unripe fruit.

As for the appearance, look for any large dark spots, tears, and ripes in the rind of the fruit. If there are, it’s best to not buy them. Papaya that has riped or tears tend to go bad quickly as the flesh is exposed to air and bacteria.

Handling Papaya

When papaya is ripe, it will become very soft. Due to their softness, the fruit will bruise very easily. Bruises on the fruit will cause the skin of the fruit to become soft and open. When there’s an opening in the fruit, the flesh will be exposed to the air. A couple of hours of exposure to the air could cause the fruit to start going bad. Also, bacteria will start contaminating the fruit as well.

Therefore, always handle riped papaya with care. Never place them on top of each other as the pressure could cause the skin to break open.

Related Questions

Can you eat papaya seeds?

Yes, the seeds of the papaya fruit can be eaten. It’s edible and has a crunchy texture with a slight peppery flavor.

Can you eat papaya skin?

Even it soft and seems fine to eat, the papaya skin can actually give you stomach irritation. It’s best to peel the skin away and eat the flesh and seeds of the papaya.