Call it mango mania.
It’s July and the mangos are ripening.
Textures, tastes, and aromas are embedded into our senses and pores.
And now, we watch and wait.
Not only our trees, but our neighbor’s trees as well.
Our bicycle rides throughout the neighborhood help us relieve our neighbors, who are back up north for the summer, of what they are missing, their very own mangos. If they don’t have signs posted, then we help ourselves to whatever is on the ground. Fair play, we say. Sometimes the fruit fits in my bicycle basket. However, most of our mangos come from trees that we have been granted permission to pick.
I am presently storing this fruit using a tool box and buckets on the veranda hoping the raccoons don’t make a feast of them before we do. If I want to slow down ripening, I bring them all inside. Over the course of the season, I prepare many of the mangos for the freezer to be used throughout the year.
Smoothies, chutneys, salsas, ice cream toppings, mango bread and cheesecake, etc. are just some of the projects going on in my kitchen. To describe a particular mangos taste is to sound like a wine connoisseur. Mango expert, Allen Susser uses tasting notes such as “a hint of roses”, or “aromatic clove and cinnamon” and many other scintillating flavors to describe a particular variety.
Meals take on a tropical flair at our house with taking the time to make shrimp and mango curry or Thai steak accompanied with a mango salad. I will even try seared-tuna with macadamia-mango rice, a new recipe for me. All from Allen Susser’s, The Great Mango Book filled with facts and recipes. The book is so popular that our local library and museum sell it in their gift shops.
Food for the gods we say and many cultures are passionate over this fruit. Originating in India and gradually making its way across Southeast Asia, South America and throughout the Caribbean, we are thankful it made its way to south Florida, the largest growing region in the US for mangos. It is the national fruit of India, Pakistan and the Philippines. Bangkok’s nickname is the “Big Mango.”
The mango is a member of the cashew family which includes the pistachio tree, the Peruvian pepper tree and poison ivy. We both have to wear garden gloves to pick and latex gloves to peel the fruit or we break out in poison ivy blisters.
However, we have no problem with eating them or I would not be writing this.
We kiddingly told some friends of ours to watch our mangos while we were out of town for two weeks. They did just that. We received an email from them with a picture of one of them standing by the mango tree watching the fruit and a cute explanation of how the mangos were doing.
What ever region you live in, I’m sure you have a favorite fruit and can’t wait until it is in season. Maybe attend a festival or two that celebrates it…blueberry, strawberry, apple, etc.
And yes, we have a Mango Festival and a queen who reigns all year. If she’s lucky she’ll wear hand painted clothing (of mangos of course) by our resident artist who specializes in that talent.
Summer. I just love it. Mango madness at our house.
2 ripe mangos, peeled and chopped.
1 small red bell pepper, chopped.
1 small red onion, chopped.
¼ cup chopped fresh cilantro
Minced garlic to taste
4 tablespoons lime juice
1 jalapeno pepper finely chopped
Salt and freshly cracked black pepper to taste.
**Vary the amounts above depending on the size and juiciness of your fruit.
For travel photography and more visit Ron Mayhew Photography.