To say I love mangoes is really an understatement, and mangoes are but one of my major addictions that keeps me from losing weight.
From I was a tiny girl, able to climb, I would clamber up the mango tree, sit on one of the branches and eat my belly full.
I could never get tired of mangoes, at least so I thought. But having just come in from my yard whereI picked more than two dozen mangoes, from two of three trees, Blackie, hybrid Bombay and Hairy, I can now say I am over mangoes. Now way! Yes.
Since COID 19 and stay at home, I have been eating an average of two Julie mangoes from my friend’s yard, whose season started early and in abundance. Julie and Bombay are my favourite mangoes because they are especially sweet and juicy with relatively little to no string.
We in Jamaica, and the rest of the Caribbean, do not do enough to harvest and preserve mangoes. The amount that you see on the ground rotting is truly shameful. Since this season began I have had my gardener collect boxes and give away. I have given dozens to friends and associates, have eaten an average of two a day. Only this morning I cut up three, Bombay and two Julies into my fruit salad with fresh bananas, papaya and pineapple…A bowl of fruit sugar.
Mangoes are one of the best fruits in the world, “originally from southern Asia, especially Myanmar and Assam state of India,” and with colonial expansion were brought to the Caribbean where we have numerous species as result of grafting. There are said to be about “234 different types of mangoes, but about 30 are common.” When I lived in St Croix the US Virgin Islands, they celebrated Mango Mele in July and there were about 49 different types. In Jamaica we have about 41 variety and the most common ones are “black-greengage, black-sweetie”, “stringy”, beef, Bombay, East Indian, Haden, kidney, lady finger, Number 11, Parry, “pint o’ water”, Robin, Julie, Tommy Atkins, turpentine”. Regardless of the shape or colour of the skin, which varies, inside all mangoes are yellow-orange colour, “due to the presence of carotenoids”.
Apart from being delicious eaten picked fresh off the tree or chilled, or blended into a smoothie or sliced and eaten with yogurt or cheese of on bread in a sandwiches or in a salad, prepared green with salt, pepper and cilantro or made into chutney or the hundreds of other ways mangoes are used in culinary art, mango has additional benefits such as it helps fight cancer, maintain cholesterol level, cleanses the skin, regulates diabetes, alkalises the body, helps to lose weight, promotes good eyes and is an aphrodisiac — must be the sweet juciness of it.
Mangoes are still on my trees, and I am still eating them. However, this evening when I went to pick some for friends, I bit into a Blackie, small and sweet, and I just thought I have had enough. I only took three bites before tossing it in the pile of rotten mangoes. I suspect I am not the only one in my neighbourhood, where there are an average of two large mango trees per yard, as I see more and more mangoes on the ground. Sorry mangoes, our freezers and fridges are full and so are our tummies. You have been swell, sweet, luscious mangoes. Come around again next year.