Another seriously summer fruit is the not so humble Mango! These are the absolute must have for getting us through the post Christmas weeks and hot days of January.
Availability & Growing Info
There is so much confusion for people about when Mangoes are available. Of course the answer isn't black and white. It depends on variety and region.
Mangoes are grown in tropical and subtropical areas across Australia, with harvests rolling out according to location/climate. Typically Northern Territory Mangoes come first in September/October, all the way down to the quintessential Bowen mango late November (which is not actually a variety, just location) and then through to our local season which is always January (if we are lucky!).
There is around 9 Australian varieties grown, although not all organically, including Kensington Pride (also known as Bowen), R2E2 - our local harvested favourite, and also the lesser seen Keitt variety.
So, whats the confusion? Well it's sometimes hard to know where the fruit is coming from and if it's being imported - usually from China, or South East Asia where the plant first originated from.
As always we suggested patience while we wait for the local season, freshly harvested local fruit is always going to be a better choice than imported pre season fruits.
Want to grow your own?
I feel like everyone I know grew up with a mango tree in their backyard or at least in the street. You only have to drive around and see masses of trees laden with fruit at this time of year, available for wild harvesting :)
Can't find one or just want to support future generations of mango lovers?
The second best time to start something is now! Plant a tree! Grafted trees are a better option than growing from seed although it is a tricky choice because it's hard to find a grafted organic mango tree (eg one that is chemical free!). The better option could be to graft your own from a wild grown tree that wouldn't typically be subjected to chemicals.
Grafted trees take about 4 years to fruit, so you do get to exercise patience! Remember these trees grow up to 35 metres so a good spot is a must! Ideally protected from wind as this can cause the flowers to fall and no flowers = no fruit :(
Nutritional Info & Storage Tips
It should come as no surprise that mangoes are high in beta carotene (hello! - orange coloured fruit), so lots of anti oxidants, as well as potassium and a decent serve of fibre. They also provide Vitamin A and C as well as being packed with phytochemicals that help digestion and elimination. Oh and are super hydrating given their water content!
Mangoes love to ripen on the bench, out of sunlight but between 18-22 degrees (I always laugh at this because it's never 18-22 degrees when Mangoes are in season!). If you want them to hurry u you can try the paper bag trick. Only put them in the fridge when ripe, else they will be flavourless and not very soft or juicy.
You might find with the local variety we get - R2E2, that it does take a while to ripen. That's because we pick them ourselves and then you typically get them a day or so afterwards. Trust us, the wait is always worth it!
So what about the black marks that sometimes appear on Mangoes? Well, thats from the Mango tree sap - called Urushiol, and it's a highly acidic sap that can cause skin burns, and damages the fruit. Commercial conventional fruit undergoes a de-sapping process to minimise potential black marks and fruit damage although likely a chemical detergent that isn't something I'd like on my fruit!
If they are sticky, just give them a wash in the sink with your fave eco detergent to remove the sap.