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What’s the difference between Pawpaw and Papaya?


Are you unsure what the difference is between a pawpaw and a papaya? Don’t worry it is confusing for many consumers.

There is a difference between the two fruits, although they are the same species, Carica. You might be more familiar with the pawpaw which has been common in South Africa for longer.

How can I tell the difference?

It’s easier than you think, you can tell the two apart by using shape and colour.

A papaya has a red or red flesh inside and it is oval like a rugby ball.

A pawpaw has yellow flesh, is slightly larger and more round like a soccer ball.

How do they taste?

A papaya has a sweeter, tropical flavour while pawpaw is a more mellow taste, often compared to banana.

Both of the fruits can be ripened at room temperature and are ready to eat once they turn yellow and are soft to the touch. Both are a great addition to your shopping list as they are low in kilojoules and full of vitamins.

There is also a green papaya, but in South Africa you don’t need to worry too much about that one. It is popular in Thai Asian cuisine, and can sometime be found in speciality Asian stores.

So now you’ve got it right? Pawpaw –soccer ball, papaya –rugby ball.

Try out our recipes for Pawpaw Chicken drumsticks, or Sarah Graham’s papaya and pineapple granita, a semi-frozen fresh fruit dessert to see how to best use each one’s unique flavour.

Which one is your favourite, pawpaw or papaya?




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