My Papaya Is White Inside: Is It Safe To Eat?

Have you ever cut into a papaya and found a suspicious-looking white mass inside the fruit? This can be very off-putting and might leave you wondering whether it is safe to eat, or whether it has gone off.

A white mass inside your papaya is actually a baby papaya, and you can remove it and eat the rest of the fruit safely. If your papaya’s flesh is white all over, there’s a chance that it is not yet ripe – although it should still be okay to eat. White spots inside the fruit may be mold, which means you should not eat the fruit.

In this article, we’ll explore the various things that can cause white to appear inside a papaya fruit, and which ones mean that you cannot eat it.

What Makes Papayas White Inside?

papaya

There are a few different things that could cause your papaya to be white inside, so you’ll need to look closely at the form that the whiteness takes in order to figure out what it stems from. Here are three of the commonest reasons for white inside the papaya:

  • The papaya is going to seed and producing a new fruit
  • The papaya is not yet ripe and its flesh hasn’t turned pink yet
  • The papaya has started to turn moldy and the white flecks are spots of fungus

That’s quite a few possibilities, but what really matters is whether you can eat the fruit or not – and it depends on which of these is responsible for the whiteness. Fortunately, all three reasons will produce a very different appearance, so it shouldn’t be too tricky to tell which is responsible for the whiteness.

It’s important to figure out which of these you are dealing with so you can ensure that you don’t eat an unsuitable papaya – so let’s explore each in more detail.

The Papaya Is Going To Seed

If you open your papaya and it looks normal but has a medium-sized white blob that looks very alien and strange in the center, where its seeds are, this indicates that the fruit is going to seed. One of its seeds has started to develop and grow into an immature papaya itself.

If this happens, you can simply remove this part of the fruit. It should come out easily, and it ought to feel firm. This is a baby papaya, which you could plant if you wanted to. If you are able to provide it with the right conditions, it will grow into a papaya tree.

The rest of the papaya should be perfectly safe to eat, and will look normal once you have removed the immature papaya from its center. If you aren’t sure, smell and taste the flesh before eating it – but usually, a sprouted seed is nothing to worry about and the rest of the fruit will taste exactly like it should.

The Papaya Isn’t Ripe Yet

Papayas are white inside before they have finished ripening, so if you accidentally (or deliberately) purchase a very underripe papaya, there is a high chance that it will still be white inside. The inner parts of the fruit don’t turn pink until it starts to ripen, at which point chemical reactions within the cells will produce the pink-red color that most people associate with ripe papayas.

An unripe papaya isn’t unsafe to eat either, but you should be aware that it contains latex, and some people are allergic to latex. Even for people who aren’t allergic, it can cause some irritation, and may be unpleasant.

You should also be aware that an unripe papaya won’t taste like anything like a ripe one. It will lack the sugars that make papayas so tasty, and the flesh will likely be firmer and chewier. A lot of people don’t enjoy unripe papayas, but some people purchase them unripe deliberately to use in recipes.

If you want to eat the papaya, you will generally need to cook it in order to make it palatable. There are many recipes for cooking green papayas and they can be very tasty, but be aware that they aren’t a substitute for the fresh, sweet fruit that most people imagine when they think of papayas. Eating an unripe one will be a very different experience.

The Papaya Is Starting To Turn Moldy

If the papaya looks mostly normal but has some little white flecks on its flesh, there is a chance that the fruit has started to go moldy. You should inspect it closely to see if this is the case. The flecks may be slightly fuzzy. If there is even a small amount of mold inside the papaya, it will need to be thrown away, and not eaten.

In some cases, it may be okay to cut the moldy area out and eat the rest, but you should only do this if the mold is in a very localized area and was clearly the result of some damage to the fruit. If the rest of the flesh is still firm and smells okay, it might be alright to eat – but be cautious, because moldy papaya could make you sick.

Make sure you cut off some of the good flesh too, allowing a “safe zone” to separate the moldy area from the part that you are going to eat.

If the papaya has gone mushy or taken on a strange or alcoholic smell, you will need to throw it away. These things indicate that the fruit has started to decay. The flesh may be fizzy, and will not taste nice if you put a small piece in your mouth. Don’t risk eating it in these cases, and spit out any pieces that you have tried.

Conclusion

White inside your papaya can be the result of several different things, so pay attention to how the white appears. If it’s from a seed or due to a lack of ripeness, the papaya should still be okay to eat, but if the white is the result of mold, you will need to compost the fruit and get a fresh one.

Hey there! My name is Alex and I've been vegan for over five years! I've set up this blog because I'm passionate about veganism and living a more spiritually fulfilling life where I'm more in tune with nature. Hopefully, I can use Vegan Foundry as a channel to help you out on your own journey!