Papayas are annual plants with a 30-foot height limit. Typically, its hollow, herbaceous stem is unbranched. The lengthy, hollow petioles that emerge from the stem apex bear the deeply lobed, palmate leaves. In the axils of leaves, flowers grow. Older leaves contain five petals that range in length from cream-wʜɪᴛe to yellow-orange and are fragrant as they age and fall off the tree as it grows. The stamens are bright yellow, while the stigmatic surfaces are a light green color.
The Sᴋɪɴ of papaya fruits is silky. Depending on the kind of plant, they come in a wide range of sizes and shapes. Commercial Solo types of hermaphrodite plants in Hawaii often yield pears-shaped fruits that weigh between 12 and 30 ounces. Round fruits are produced by Solo kinds’ female plants. Other papaya types yield a variety of fruit shapes and sizes that can weigh up to 20in. The fruits often have several seeds inside smooth, yellow to orange-red, delicious flesh of good kinds.
Papaya fruit should be picked when some yellow first appears on it, just after the color break, but before it becomes completely yellow. When fruit is half yellow, it is best to harvest it for domestic consumption. Fruit flies and birds frequently harm fruit that is allowed to ripen on the tree. Papaya fruits can be picked by hand while seated on the ground from short papaya plants. There is a need for harvesting aids as the plants get taller. One ᴍᴇᴛʜod involves separating the papaya from the stem with a modified plumber’s helper. Before it ʜɪᴛs the ground, the fruit is grabbed. With this ᴍᴇᴛʜod, one individual can harvest between 800 and 1000 pounds each day. Another ᴍᴇᴛʜod elevates the workers using a platform attached to a tractor.
Fruit for export must be gathered and packed in strict accordance with quarantine requirements in order to be certified for shipment. Fruit that has been harvested is allowed to mature at room temperature before being chilled. Fruit is often partially to fully yellow and slightly squishy when it is ready to eat; chilling can extend its storage life by several days. In commercial settings, storing partially ripe fruit at around 50F can extend its store life for up to two weeks, but lower temperatures may halt the ripening process and result in ᴅᴀᴍᴀɢᴇ; the ideal storage temperature for completely ripe fruit is about 36F.
Papayas must be treated to eradicate any fruit fly eggs or larvae that may be present. Both vapor heat treatments and double-dip hot water treatments are available. Papayas heading for the U.S. mainland may lose their certification if they receive the double-dip procedure. The approval of dry heat treatment is pending certification.
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Video resource: Future Technique