Verónica Quiles Maldonado

Papaya is one of the most common fruits grown in Puerto Rico. Here, the unripe fruit is candied, transforming it into a dessert that is often served with queso de país, a soft white farmer's cheese. The slices are traditionally prepared over an open fire, but we've translated the recipe for an indoor kitchen. Soaking the papaya in a baking soda solution prevents it from falling apart when cooked. The leftover spiced syrup is delicious added to cocktails or drizzled over ice cream. Read more about this recipe.
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El Departamento de la Comida in Puerto Rico is a nonprofit collective that supports small-scale, decentralized local food projects. This comforting and nourishing soup is one of their classics and was served often at their restaurant until it closed in 2017. It is traditionally prepared with Caribbean pumpkin, which grows abundantly in Puerto Rico. It has a sweet taste similar to butternut squash and is often used in soups and stews. Read more about the nonprofit collective.
Malanga & yautía roots are starchy root vegetables similar to potatoes but with an even starchier texture and a nutty taste. They grow across Puerto Rico and are an important food source because of their resiliency. Grown underground, they can better withstand hurricanes and large storms. At OtraCosa, a small communal farm in Caguas, Puerto Rico, this dish is served with homemade pique, a local hot sauce made with pineapple skin and caballero peppers. A simple watercress salad makes an ideal accompaniment. Read more about OtraCosa.
This simple vegetarian stew makes a hearty and inexpensive main course. It showcases fresh pigeon peas (gandules verdes), which are a staple in Puerto Rico. The small, round legume is similar in size to an English pea. Serve this with rice, tostones (fried plantains) or viandas (steamed or boiled root vegetables). Read more about this recipe.
Guanimes are made with masa harina (corn flour), which you can find in most grocery stores. They are traditionally served alongside stewed salted codfish (bacalao); this vegetarian version features stewed eggplant and ajíes dulces, small peppers that resemble habaneros but are sweet, not hot. Read more about this recipe.
This salad marries the flavors of cooked and raw ingredients, celebrating the wide array of produce that is grown and harvested at OtraCosa, a small communal farm in Caguas, Puerto Rico, and on neighboring farms. Read more about OtraCosa.