Our island backyard boasts five mature mango trees, for which we consider ourselves blessed. However, it’s probably a good thing mangoes are a seasonal fruit because I honestly cannot imagine what I would do with such abundance year round. Yet in spite of the copious harvest we go through every year, we look forward to mango season like a couple of kids waiting for Christmas. We regularly inspect the trees for flower development and growth, and we get all silly with excitement when we finally see fruit the size of olives forming on the branches. Oh, the anticipation of that sweet, juicy, messy fruit!
Of course, by about Week 3 of the harvest, we can barely look at the green and orange orbs; even the dogs will have lost their zeal. No matter! Being an enterprising woman who lives on a rock, I have figured out ways to incorporate this gift of nature into just about any dish.
So when you find yourself thinking, I literally cannot eat another mango, here is a list of creative ways you can use ’em, not waste ’em:
Chop not-too-ripe fruit into small chunks and add to your lettuce or bok choy salad greens. Then, add some chunks of either brie, goat, or blue cheese, and chopped green onions. Sprinkle with walnuts and top with your fave Asian-style vinaigrette.
Chop mangoes into small chunks, add chunks of fresh tomato and/or pineapple, green onions, hot or flavored peppers, lemon pepper, chadon beni, and lime juice. Let sit for a couple of hours for flavors to permeate. This salsa is delish served as a topping for fish, pork, or chicken.
Popsicles or infused ice cubes
Puree fruit in blender or food processor and pour into popsicle molds and freeze. Or, pour into ice cube trays and use in your favorite drink – extra fun in seltzer water.
Mix pureed fruit with one cup evaporated milk and one cup heavy cream and put into an ice cream maker. For a vegan option, omit the milk and cream and use coconut cream instead.
Smoothies and cocktails
Puree mangoes with pineapple chunks, passionfruit pulp, and coconut milk for a lovely smoothie. Add dark rum for a cocktail option or yogurt for a breakfast option.
Crisp or crumble
Chop fruit into chunks and place in a greased baking dish (I use coconut oil). Top with a mixture of oatmeal, flour, brown sugar, cinnamon, and coconut oil. Bake for 40-45 minutes in a 350°F oven. This one is yummy as a dessert or brunch dish.
Use your favorite fruit cobbler recipe and simply substitute chunks of mango for the peaches or berries and coconut oil for the butter. Yummy on its own or topped with ice cream.
Adding chunks of not-too-ripe mango to your chicken or pork stir-fry gives it a nice exotic touch. I love making a stir-fry of chicken breast chunks, mango chunks, fresh ginger, snap-peas, and cashews (or almonds) with a light sauce of soy and sweet Asian pepper sauce, served over rice or noodles.
Muffins and cakes
Mashed mango pulp makes excellent muffins, breads, and cakes. How does mango cake with passionfruit glaze sound? Or mango banana muffins for breakfast?
A popular breakfast at our house is a bowl of home-made plain or vanilla yogurt topped with fresh mango chunks, banana chunks, and a touch of granola. Fast and delicious.
Mango chunks or mango puree make an excellent topping for pancakes – so sweet you may not even want the syrup!
And when you have absolutely run out of ideas or you cannot face one more mango, simply slice up your remaining fruit, place into freezer bags, and freeze. Believe me – after a month or two post-mango season, you will be longing for its golden messy sweetness once again.
This list is by no means exhaustive – so tell me, how do you manage an excess of mangoes in your life? Talk about one sweet island girl problem to have, right?
Now, as for me, I do believe our avocado tree is starting to bear fruit…