Green Papaya Salsa

Rainbow Over Drake's View, Bordeaux Mountain, St. John, USVI

We are in St. John, in the US Virgin Islands right now visiting my parents. In addition to this view, their house is surrounded by some fruit trees, including lots of papayas.

Green papayas from the gardens at Drake's View.

Unfortunately, if you leave the papayas on the tree for very long, they get pecked to death by birds, so we usually pick them while they’re green. I’m a som tom (Thai green papaya salad) addict, so we make that a bit, but tomatoes and fish sauce are sometimes hard to come by on island, so I decided to try out something different tonight–Green Papaya Salsa.

Our papaya, though green on the outside, was actually somewhat orangey-yellow already, but definitely not ripe just yet. You could even use a ripe papaya for this recipe, but I’m not a huge fan of ripe papayas personally, as I find they get too close to the edge of rotten when ripe for my own taste.

It makes sense that green papaya would do well in a salsa, as I’ve had shaved green mango with lime, chili, and salt multiple times as a street snack in Mexico. I would definitely make this one again, and would stick closer to the original recipe if I happened to have good tomatoes and fresh chilis on hand, but this was delicious in a pinch. Enjoy!

Green Papaya Salsa with Blue Corn Chips

Modifying this recipe, from Serious Eats, I came up with the following:

Green Papaya Salsa

modified from a recipe posted on Serious Eats and originally adapted from The Culinary Institute of America‘s Techniques of Healthy Cooking.

  • 1 green papaya, peeled, seeded, and diced
  • 1 jar of hot salsa
  • 1/4 C. frozen corn (optional)
  • juice of 2 limes
  • juice of a few sour oranges (optional–we had some in the yard), or a few Tb. fresh orange juice
  • handful of cilantro, chopped
  • handful of mint, chopped
  • 3 Tb. minced onion

Stir all ingredients together and taste–add more citrus juice or salt as needed. Our jarred salsa was quite salty, but as we didn’t have any good fresh tomatoes on hand, it stood in well for those. Enjoy with tortilla chips, or even better, plantain chips for some Caribbean flair.

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