You’ve probably tasted the pulpy, musky fruit when ripe, but a green one is another animal: white, crunchy, and slightly spongy inside, like a raw zucchini. In Thailand, papayas are shredded for salad. Got a spiralizer? Toss green papaya curlicues in a peanutty dressing.
Anyone who grows tomatoes knows that this time of year, there are always some green stragglers that are firmer and tart. In the South, they’re dredged in cornmeal and fried. In Jewish delis, they’re pickled for a grassy flavor and crunchiness. We endorse both methods.
When sweet, soft, and yellow or brown, they’re called maduros (“mature” in Spanish). Before they’re ripe, you’ll need a knife to cut off the peels. The starchy, mild fruit is then treated like a potato and fried, steamed, braised, or mashed.
Give the mango’s bright and crunchy side a try: Look for firmness and a color more green than yellow, or head to an Asian market to find deliberately unripe mangoes. Go the Indian route and chop one up to make a quick pickle with vinegar, sugar, and chiles.