Mangoes: God’s Way of Packaging Sunshine!
As I tweeted this afternoon, my kitchen is now home to a pile of ripe, fresh Mangoes. Where they came from, I have no clue. Quite possibly my Dad’s doing, but the tree they were taken from is a mystery to me. We used to have a Mango tree in our backyard growing up, but it became sick and had to be chopped down. I realize now what a privileged childhood I had, because not only did I grow up with a Mango tree in the backyard, but with a few more: Guava (Guayaba), Avocado (Aguacate), Soursop (Guanabana) and “Apples of Gold” (Manzanas de Oro). Amazing what tropical weather can do!
As children, my brother and I would eat mangoes for the seeds. Inside, a large, hairy white seed awaited. We would suck on them and rinse them with cool water. Afterward, we’d place them in the sun and after a day or two we would have a hairy, dry monster we used to play with, draw faces on, etc.
My dad eats about 4-5 mangoes a sitting. Growing up, no one ever used knives to chop, slice and dice a mango. With your front teeth you’d pull of the skin, revealing the droplets of sweet nectar and instantly start eating the pulp. Eating a Mango was messy business, so I can see my father’s point. You aren’t going to dirty your hands and shirt (if very juicy) for just ONE mango…Might as well go to town, sit with a bucket of Mangoes on a sunny day in the backyard and just eat, eat, eat. My hands can remember how sticky they’d get after a marathon of mango eating….
My grandmother’s backyard had a Mango tree also. Lucky her, she also had a tamarind and a “Limoncillo” tree (commonly called Spanish lime, genip, genipe, mamoncillo, or honeyberry). I never ate Mangoes from her tree. They were the “Banilejo” type, fibrous and small; normally too ripe for my taste.
I’ve asked around and quite a lot of people tell me they eat their mangoes with either: salt, vinegar, chili powder, etc. Influenced by Thai dishes, this might be very common. I’ve never tasted something other than a sweet, fresh Mango and don’t think I’d ever do the salty Mango. Some things are better left to Mother Nature. I do enjoy making granola squares with it and might be baking some tomorrow.
How do you eat your Mango? Is it commonly found where you live? Have you ever cooked/baked with it?