Blog Schedule

I post on Monday with an occasional random blog thrown in for good measure. I do my best to answer all comments via email and visit around on the days I post.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Summer Fruit - Mangoes - Part One

One of the things I delight in when I visit the islands is being able to eat local fruit.

In the summer many things are in season. Like mangoes. Most everyone is familiar with the large stringless mangoes one finds in the supermarket. They are a grafted variety that do not grow true to seed. Truth be told, most mangoes are small, about the size of a computer mouse and stringy. My great-grandfather said eating a mango was like eating custard off a paint brush. The ones that grow on a tree my mother planted are the sweetest I’ve ever eaten and very stringy. Other varieties are the small kidney shaped ones that turn bright yellow when they are ripe, and larger ones whose green skins take on a reddish blush.
Mangoes are part of the large Sumac family which includes cashew, pistachio, and poison ivy. Some people, like my father was, are very allergic to them, to the point where even handling them can cause a rash. They were brought to the area from the East Indies.

The true and proper way to eat one of the common stringy mangoes is to roll it around between your hands to break up the pulp and make it soft and juicy (like rolling a lemon or orange before squeezing the juice out.) Then you bite a small hole in the skin at the top through which you suck out the meat and juice as you squeeze the fruit. No matter how hard you try there comes a point when your face gets sticky with juice which in turn dribbles down your hands to your elbows, so it’s best to eat a mango over a sink or even better, in the ocean.

I remember with fondness the last time my mother and I ate mangoes over the kitchen sink, about 5 or 6 years ago. I think between the two of us we must have eaten 8 or 10. We stood there together delighting in their sweetness, laughing at how sticky we got.


  1. Oh, yes, eating those stringly little green mangoes is heaven ... I'm soooo envious. My kids still remember you sending us a box of sugar apple. Yummm. And homesick.

  2. We have a really good friend from Malaysia. He once told us mangoes are considered good luck for pregnant women, and they are given at baby showers. They are symbolic of a happy life -- isn't that cool?

  3. Eating mangoes in the ocean! Now that sounds like heaven.

  4. Yum. That juice. That wonderful musty tang. That full mango taste that can't be compared to any other fruit. I'm so a mango addict. Eating it while standing in the surf is absolutely the best.

    Have to go. I'm on my way to the beach and the nearest mango tree.

  5. I love mangoes!
    I have a friend who is crazy about them - she says her parents used to put her and her siblings in the bathtub to eat them when they were little.

  6. I love mango, but have only had the kind they sell here, not the type you described. :)


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