No tropical fruit tray or tropical drink is complete without fresh papaya. Papaya adds variety to fruit trays and is also ideal to use in salsas. Like all fruits, precaution must be taken when looking for a good papaya. Good papaya has a sweet scent when opened, as well as a sweet taste. Bad papaya smells fermented, feels mushy and has a less than desirable rotten taste. Knowing the signs of a bad papaya saves you the hassle of dealing with less than desirable fruit.
Check the outside. The outside of a papaya tells you a lot about what is on the inside. Green papayas are not ripe and must be stored properly to allow further ripening. Yellow papayas are ready for eating. Papayas that feature deep orange areas on the outside are over ripe and going bad.
Good papayas are slightly firm to the touch. Bad papayas feel soft, look shriveled and do not have a healthy green or yellow color. Bruising on the outside of the papaya is a clear indicator that the meat of the fruit is not going to taste well. Softness at the stem of the fruit also indicates that the inside is bruised or rotten.
Smell the fruit. Uncut papayas do not have a scent. Before eating a papaya, cut it open and inhale. The inside of a good papaya smells sweet and musky. A bad papaya smells rotted or fermented.