Once the mangoes begin to ripen in South Florida you’re pressed to find a blog, magazine, newspaper or anything related to South Florida without at least a picture of a mango. I feel I need to join the band wagon; even though we are all tired of seeing photos of fruit laden trees or buckets of backyard harvests, it’s hard not to contribute my own.
The lot which became the Little River Market Garden 2 years ago had a few treasures on it, big treasures. There are 3 mango trees on the property, 2 of which are as old and as big as they get, reaching at least 3 stories high and producing hundreds of fruit between June and August. The third tree is smaller and has been maintained as a courtyard tree, but it also produces hundreds of fruit.
In March the trees blaze up with flower spikes making them look like big balls of fireworks. Bees go crazy for about a month around April, after the majority of the tiny flowers drop in masses of pink snow littering every piece of outdoor furniture, a few hundred small green mangoes begin to fatten up on the leggy spikes. By May the mangoes have gotten so heavy that the spikes now hang straight down, weighted down by the fruit. This is the time for drooling over how good they are going to be, trying to satisfy the craving by making green mango chutney. But we all know that nothing compares to a meaty slice of sweet, tree ripened mango, especially the first one of the season. The courtyard tree we have is a Carrie, one of the best; thin seed, nice and round shape, smooth fiber-less flesh. They aren’t particularly pretty compared to other varieties, never quite turning fully yellow on the outside, but inside they are a deep golden orange, always juicier and sweeter than I remembered.
Here we are in June and the bags of frozen mango in the freezer are beginning to pile up! Mango smoothies for breakfast, lunch and dessert every day from now till we can’t stomach them anymore! There’s really no reason to try fancy recipes or complicated ingredients lists. By a long shot the best way to enjoy a mango is either fresh, in a bowl with yogurt or blended into a frozen drink with soymilk, plain and simple.