Pretty damned GREAT!
That, sports fans, is a MONDO mango from my friend’s next-door neighbor’s tree, which happened to fall in her yard about a week ago. My pal brought it over….and I was thrilled, even though the mango wasn’t ripe, it was HUGE! Such anticipation! So, I put it in a paper sack, and checked each day for progress on ripening. Patience pays!
(CAUTION: If you are allergic to mangoes, which are related to poison ivy…don’t do this at home, find a pal….like me!….who isn’t in any way affected by the sap).
An unripe mango goes from solid as a rock, without any fragrance, and not much color…to a sweet-smelling, firm, and colored up (depending upon the variety) ripe fruit in a few days to a week. On our trip to Costa Rica, we saw ripe yellow mangoes, red mangoes, orange mangoes, and even purple mangoes….so one can’t really rely upon the color. Rather, use your nose to detect the sweet mango smell, and use your fingers to gently detect ripeness in the fruit….it should still be firm, but a little bit on the soft side…somewhat like a well ripened melon.
When your mango achieves the perfect delicious smell and texture, it’s time to carve it up. There are many ways to do this. I find it makes the most sense to either peel first (w/a huge fruit), and then slice/dice….or to slice first, cross hatch, and then remove from the skin, with a smaller fruit (perhaps I’ll do a mango tutorial another time). Mangoes are extremely slimy to hold on to! So a sharp knife is essential….but beware, you can cut your fingers off if you’re not careful! You can learn more on how to peel a mango, and also find commercial mango seed corers online, search on “mango peelers”.
Today’s mango, as you can see, was almost 7″ long, and weighed in at 2 lbs., 2 1/2 oz! After I’d peeled, sliced, and diced it, and threw away the seed and skin, I was left with 1 lb., 10 oz. of perfectly sliced fruit (which I promptly put into sandwich baggies, and froze). Net loss on the pit and skin was 8 1/2 oz.
What to do w/mangoes? Eat them cold, with a squeeze of lime. AND, if you like, sprinkle with some salted chili powder…I prefer a bit of ancho & chipotle, with a bit of added Kosher salt. Or just sprinkle with a bit of lime juice and salt. Mix them with a little bit of booze (rum, Cointreau, or Triple Sec) and serve over home-made vanilla ice cream…a favorite at my house. Mix them in a blender, with ice, a bit of OJ, for margaritas or daquiris, or a virgin smoothie. Make a delicious fresh summer fruit salad with the other fresh fruit you adore. Or make a salsa, with fresh hot chiles! The possibilities are endless.
My absolute favorite way to eat a mango, though, is on a boat, hanging over the bow rail….merely peel the fruit, and just eat out of hand, all the while dripping juice all over yourself, and the boat. When you’re done, jump in to rinse off, climb back in the boat…don’t forget to grab a pail of water to rinse off the boat….and then wait for a fish to hit your trolled baits! Fruit is supposedly bad luck on a boat….but I’ve always found the opposite to be true! Eat a mango….Fish On!!!!!!! (And hope you have a mango ready for salsa to go with your delicious, freshly caught fish)!
I somehow ALWAYS forget how delicious the first fresh mango of the season is. It shocks me with a super zap of unexpected flavor, every single year. Even if you don’t live in Florida (where mangoes are more or less free)….NOW is the time to shop for fresh mangoes, reasonably priced, because NOW is the season. Then….slice, dice and enjoy…or cut them up for your freezer (they freeze beautifully) for use throughout the year. Most of all, ENJOY the reason for the season. SWEET!
~ Blonde Gator