When a papaya's skin turns a yellow-orange color and yields to gentle pressure, it is ready to eat. It's best to eat a papaya immediately after it has ripened. If that isn't possible, a papaya can be stored in the refrigerator for a few days.
An unripe papaya typically ripens in two to three days. To hasten ripening, it can be placed in a brown paper bag, which traps ethylene gases produced by the papaya and enables it to ripen quicker. Turn the papaya at least once a day to promote even ripening. Papayas should be kept in a cool place, as warm storage can promote rotting.