Summers and gardens are synonymous. Growing up out West, the gardens in the summer were overflowing with zucchini and tomatoes. We distributed them to all the neighbors, made zucchini bread and had to freeze it because we made so much. We canned pasta sauce, made zucchini fritters, fresh salsa and had gazpacho many days in a row. In Florida our harvest seasons are a bit different. July in Florida means we are nearly drowning in mangoes. Delicious, juicy, nutritious, gorgeous tropical jewels called mangoes.
According to Champagne Mango, the mango tree, Mangifera Indica, is native to south Asia, by eastern India. It is a member of the Anacardiaceae family and is a distant relative of the pistachio and cashew trees. From time immemorial, the mango, known as the King of Fruits, has been an important part of Indian life. Mangos have historically been revered as symbols of life and happiness. It is said that Buddha himself rested and meditated with his fellow monks in the peaceful tranquility of lush mango groves in places such as Amrapali and Mahachunda.
Many cases in history record the effects that mangoes have had in shaping people’s beliefs, customs and ways of life. According to the Great Chronicle of Ceylon, present day Sri Lanka converted to Buddhism after an intense and symbolic conversation over mango trees between the Island’s King Tissa and Price Mahinda. The King was so touched and convinced of the price’s knowledge that he converted to Buddhism, and consequently, the rest of the island’s population.
Mangoes are mentioned in many famous epic and theological writings, including the Vedas, Hinduism’s sacred books; and also in the Ramayana, one of India’s most legendary Sanskrit poems, which tells the story of Prince Rama’s journeys in life. In Sanskrit, the classical language of ancient India, poetry and metaphors, mangoes are also referred to as the kalpavriksha, “the wish-granting trees”, because of their taste and their symbolic meaning.
A mango’s appearance and flavor can vary between varieties. Between the original wild varieties and hybridization, there are literally hundreds of mango varieties across the world, but few make their way to American supermarkets. In South Florida we are able to grow nearly all varieties and if you are lucky enough to have a mature tree you are in for an annual treat. You will also make a lot of friends when you can no longer keep up with the harvest. Here is some information below to help you identify the most popular mango varieties in the U.S. along with their key characteristics:
More compact compared to other varieties, it has a kidney-shaped form, with a skin that turns from green to a deep golden yellow when fully ripe. The inside is velvety smooth, with almost no fibrous texture, unlike other varieties, and a much thinner pit (about the thickness of a wafer). The taste is intensely sweet and full. The Champagne® mango is of this variety.
Availability: February through August from Mexico
These are medium, rounder mangos with an oval-round shape. Haden mangos have skin that is yellow in color accompanied by a red-orange blush when ripe. They have a juicy and yellow pulp that is sweet in flavor and have moderate fiber.
Availability: March through June from Mexico
Large, oblong shaped fruit with green skin that has some hues of red. Tommy Atkins are characterized by firm, juicy flesh with a smaller pit and moderate fiber. They emit a strong and pleasant scent.
Availability: February through July from Mexico
A large fruit, primarily green colored on the outside, with an occasional red blush. Kents have smooth flesh with minimal to mild fiber and are very juicy with a sweet, rich flavor.
Availability: June through August from Mexico
This large, oval-shaped fruit has predominantly green skin. Its flesh is smooth, sweet and juicy with mild fiber. Keitts have a flavorful aroma and also have a smaller pit than other green mango counterparts.
Available July through September from Mexico
In the U.S., mangoes are primarily supplied by Mexico during the spring and summer months but they are available year-long with shipments from Ecuador, Peru, Brazil, Guatemala and Haiti.
Mangos conveniently offer a generous dose of nutrients while being pure tropical decadence. The boost 100% of daily vitamin C, 35% of daily vitamin A, 12% fiber, 20% folate, 10% vitamin B6, only 100 calories and no cholesterol, sodium or fat.
In a Korean study conducted in 2013, mango extracts were found to act against the UVB-induced skin aging in mice. Mangoes are rich in beta-carotene and vitamin A, these carotenoids can help enrich skin health. Beta-carotene is also a photoprotective agent and it quenches the photochemical reactions in the epidermis, thereby protecting the skin from the ultraviolet rays. According to a Chinese study, the polyphenols in mangoes exhibit anticancer activity and Vitamin A has also been found to reduce oil production on the skin. So, if your acne has been bothering you, including mangoes in your diet can be a wise idea. The vitamin can also aid skin growth and repair, and reduce fine lines as well, so eat up, and look for skincare products that contain mango, like Moxie Creed. Moxie Creed is a natural and organic skin care line that focuses on botanicals that are scientifically shown to heal, renew and protect skin, like mango.
There are so many options for things you can do with mangos, as well as ways to preserve them, lets start with the basics for those who are being very overwhelmed with production. Dehydration and canning. Dehydration is the most simple and effective way to preserve large quantities of mango while maintaining the nutrient density. This dehydrator is very cost effective and user-friendly. All you do is slice it, lay the slices on the trays, stack and turn it on. Come back a few hours later and it’s done.
Canning is an age-old tradition of preserving that is an old-school-but-once-again-so-cool food preservation method that does not require special tools, just classic canning jars.
You can reduce the sugar in this mango recipe but you will need to consume the mango jam in the next 1-3 days. The sugar in the mango jam and the lemon help the jam to preserve for months if ripe fresh mangoes are used.
- 10 medium sized mangoes
- 4 cups Sugar
- Lemon peel of 2 organic Lemons
- 2 “naked” peeled organic Lemons
Start by peeling your mangoes and discard the peel. Keep the mangoes in a big cooking pot.
Peel your lemon and add to the pot the peel and the lemon flesh. Cover the fruits with the whole amount of sugar. Heat up your pot on low heat and start to stir the fruits. Stir on low heat for about 30 minutes or until you see the rolling boil happening and when the fruit flesh is completely unattached from the core and only the strings are left. Always keep an eye on the cooking Jam. Test the jam by dropping some of it on a cold plate. If the jam is running then it will need some more cooking time, if it remains and a thin skin appear on the drop, it is ready to be jarred. But first remove and discard the Lemon rind, lemons and the Mango cores with the strings attached to the cores (some mango types don’t have strings which is all the better).
Grab a sterilized Jar and fill it full with the jam. Drop a few drops of alcohol into the cap so that it gets disinfected. Seal the Jar and turn it up side down and leave it like that for a few hours before you store the mango jam jars in a cool and dry place.
Recipes to make now
Now let’s get cooking and enjoy your freshest mangoes today. Here are a handful of amazing recipes to get you started.
1 Honey mango, peeled, pitted, and chopped (about 1 1/2 cups)
3/4 cup sugar
4 cups water
1 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 teaspoon bitters, such as Angostura
In a blender, blend the mango, 1/4 cup of the sugar, and a splash of water until smooth. This will make the purée for the lemonade. In a pitcher, combine the water, lemon juice, bitters, and the remaining 1/2 cup sugar. Stir until the sugar dissolves. Mix in the puree. Serve over ice in tall glasses.
Recipe courtesy of Ayesha Curry
1 mango, peeled and diced
1/2 cup peeled, diced cucumber
1 tablespoon finely chopped jalapeno
1/3 cup diced red onion
1 tablespoon lime juice
1/3 cup roughly chopped cilantro leaves
Salt and pepper
Combine the mango, cucumber, jalapeno, red onion, lime juice and cilantro leaves and mix well. Season with salt and pepper, to taste.
Recipe courtesy Ellie Krieger on Food Network
A staple condiment for Indian and British foods, chutney offers the prefect sweet/sour addition to most anything! Soy cheddar, grilled chick’n, lentils and rice, anything!
4 mangoes, peeled and diced. Champagne mangoes are exceptional for this but any mango will do.
1 1/2 cups coconut sugar (in a pinch, 1/2 cup white unbleached organic cane, 1/2 cup organic brown sugar)
1 cup apple cider vinegar
1 cup raisins
1/2 cup ginger, peeled and minced
3 tablespoons fresh lime juice
1 teaspoon chili powder
1 teaspoon nutmeg
1 teaspoon Himalayan salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
3 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
1 large Vidalia onion (or yellow), finely chopped
1 full stick cinnamon
Combine all ingredients in large sauce pan and bring to boil. Reduce to medium-low, stirring occasionally and waiting for it to reduce and thicken, roughly two hours, and completely worth it! Remove from heat and let cool. Transfer to seal-able glass jars and refrigerate, up to two weeks.
Recipe courtesy Life with Moxie Cookbook
3 sugar cubes
8-10 fresh mint leaves
2-3 dashes lime bitters
1 oz fresh squeezed lime juice
1/4 cup mango chunks
2 oz light rum
2 oz club soda
ice, as needed
In a cocktail shaker (or flat bottomed drinking glass), add 8-10 mint leaves and 3 sugar cubes. If desired add 2-3 dashes lime bitters.
Use a muddler to crush the sugar and mint together. Muddle until sugar has dissolved.
Add 1 oz fresh lime juice to shaker.
Add 1/4 cup fresh mango chunks. Light crush and muddle mango into the drink.
Add 2 oz light (white) rum of choice.
Fill serving glass with ice. Pour cocktail into serving glass. Add 2 oz club soda. Serve with fresh mint and garnish with a slice of mango.
Courtesy: The Little Epicurean
Mango Tomato Salad
2 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
2 teaspoons coconut sugar
1 teaspoon lime juice
1/2 teaspoon sweet curry
1 tablespoon extra light olive oil
1 mango, peeled, pitted, sliced length wise into spears
1 large organic tomato (Heirloom if in season), halved, then sliced lengthwise
Several Thai basil leaves, very thinly sliced
1/2 teaspoon course Himalayan salt
Whisk the vinegar, sugar, lime juice, curry, and olive oil in small bowl, set aside. On a plate, arrange the tomato and mango slices in a circle, starting from the center and working around, alternating fruits. Sprinkle shredded Thai basil over the fruit, drizzle the dressing over the fruit, then sprinkle the salt. Great as a side.
Recipe courtesy Life with Moxie Cookbook
Steak-ish and Mango Salad
1 head Romaine lettuce, cleaned, dried and cut bite-sized
1 carrot, shredded or spiraled if feeling fancy
1 English cucumber, chopped (quartered coins) with skin on. (organic only, if not, peel it.)
1/4 of a sweet or white onion, cut into thin, roughly one inch strips.
1 pint container grape tomatoes, rinsed, halved.
2 mangoes, peeled, seeded and cut bite-size
1 package beefless strips, sauteed
Poppy seed dressing
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons vegan mayonnaise (I prefer Whole Foods 365 brand)
2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1/2 shallot, minced
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1 tablespoon poppy seeds
1 tablespoon agave
Whip all dressing ingredients together (shake in a jar) and refrigerate for at least 20 minutes to let flavors meld while you prep and assemble the salad.
Salad: Divide lettuce among plates. In mixing bowl, toss carrots, cucumbers, onion, tomato and beefless strips, then top each salad with equal proportions of the mix. Drizzle dressing over salads, serve with squeezable lemon wedge.
Recipe courtesy Life with Moxie Cookbook
Mango Black Beans & Rice with Plantains and Yucca
White rice, prepared according to package directions, enough for 4 servings.
2 yellow onions, diced, will be divided for use in different parts of the recipe.
9 cloves garlic, minced, will be divided for use in different parts of the recipe.
2 cans unseasoned black beans
1 tablespoon cumin
1 1/2 teaspoons salt, divided for use in different parts of the recipe.
1 teaspoon black pepper
2 ripe mangoes, chopped
1 pint container of grape tomatoes, cut in half
3 plantains, peeled and sliced in long ¼ inch thick diagonally cut slices.
1 1/2 pounds yucca, peeled, halved and cut into large pieces
1 lime, juiced
2 lemons, juiced
1/2 cup olive oil
Start the Yucca and rice first as the rest can be prepared while these cook.
Place yucca in a heavy saucepan, add water enough to just cover the highest piece of yucca. Add salt and lime juice and bring to a boil. Cover, reduce to a simmer and cook for 25-30 minutes until tender. Drain and remove the woody core, it will separate easily. Return yucca pieces to their saucepan. Mash 6 cloves worth of the minced garlic into 1 teaspoon salt with the back of a spoon, smashing garlic/salt into the side of a bowl. In a clean saucepan, add ½ cup olive oil, garlic/salt blend and 1 chopped onion, bring to a low simmer, stirring well to blend, until onion is transparent. Add lemon juice, stir well to blend, remove from heat and pour over yucca. Turn yucca several times, ensuring it’s completely coated, return pan to low heat for another 5 minutes.
For black beans
In a large heavy skillet, add a couple tablespoons of coconut oil and 1 chopped onion and 3 cloves minced garlic, saute over medium heat until onion is transparent. Add beans, cumin and ½ teaspoon salt, continue sauteing for another 10 minutes, stirring often. Add mango and tomatoes, stir in and remove from heat.
Add several tablespoons coconut oil to a larger heavy skillet, heat to medium. Add cut plantain slices to skillet flipping every minute or so until they brown, for about 5-6 minutes total. When browned, remove to a plate with a paper towel on it to absorb any excess oil.
Serve black beans over the rice with sides of yucca and plantains, with additional sides of fresh tomatoes, avocados, fresh diced onion and more mangoes.
-Use frozen yucca
-frozen plantains pre-made if seriously pressed, are available. Just know they have several less-than-awesome ingredients, but they are vegan and taste really good.
-use frozen pre-cooked rice or quinoa
Recipe courtesy Life with Moxie Cookbook
Banana Mango Sorbet
3 ripe bananas; peeled
1 mango; cut into chunks
1 tbsp. sugar
The juice of half a lemon
2 tsp. spiced simple syrup
Place all ingredients in a food processor. Puree until smooth.
Place in an ice cream maker and follow the manufacturers directions. If no ice cream maker is available, simply place in freezer in a freezer safe container.
Enjoy and keep chilled in the freezer.
Recipe courtesy feastie.com
If you are ready to go all mango all the time with your cooking, here is a generous list of what look like amazing options!
Mangoes are so valuable in so many ways to us. Good for our bodies and our skin, they are gorgeous and oh so delicious. It’s time to moxify and proactively decide to do it well! Enjoy with this little mango jingle… Bon Appetite!
Have ideas you’d like to add? Need more suggestions? Let me know!
Julie Koester is CEO of Life with Moxie, a Lifestyle Revolution Company www.lifewithmoxie.com, CEO of Moxie Creed www.moxiecreed.com and Host of Life with Moxie Radio, Saturday’s at 1pm on 98.9 WGUF in Southwest Florida. You can reach her at Julie@lifewithmoxie.com
Passionate Living by Design, That’s Life with Moxie
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