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« Cherry Pit/ Noyaux Ice Cream. & More Notes on Homemade Ice Cream | Main | Writing & Leaving Comments on Eggbeater, and other blogs too. »

24 May 2008


But can you eat the pits? (;

Our mango season is not until September but it lasts 5 - 6 months. I'm counting down the months.

I am partial to the "Manila" mangos available at Berkeley Bowl. I almost bought a tempting flat of them yesterday when I was shopping at a small Lao market in Oakland for Thai cooking supplies.

I've also been cooking a lot with green mangos lately, which are tart and refreshing and can compare in texture/taste to a very tart green apple. Today I'm making a garbanzo bean salad with green mango and chilis for a BBQ. Yesterday I had green mango rice for breakfast. Good green mangos are hard to get in most "standard" markets - even Berkeley Bowl - as the turnover isn't fast enough and they get soft and start to ripen. You need to buy them rock hard for best taste.

God Shuna you made me think of this bushel of mangos I received once.

I was pregnant, married to a fisherman and living in West Java. Even with my spoken-for status, a government official took a fancy to me in the immigration office, figured out which village I lived in and appeared one day with a humongous basket of perfectly ripe mangos. I could smell him coming. It was the smell of unstoppable sex.

The basket was so big and heavy it took too men to carry it. Somehow I managed to say no to him but yes to the mangos. I invited all of my friends over and we borrowed a blender and jerry-rigged an electric wire to the one house with power, and made mango smoothies with mangos and coconut milk, a little palm sugar and dirty ice.

I am certain my unborn daughter got a good hit of mango as she floated in the amniotic fluid. Now, at fifteen, she picks one up from the counter and disappears, with no knife, no plate.

Melinda! This is a gorgeous and provocative story. Thank you so much for sharing it! ~ Shuna

I have a problem with mangos. It started on a recent trip to Southeast Asia where I ate mangos that were so floral, so honeyed, so intoxicatingly complex that I thought I had never tasted a mango before.

Those amazing specimens are too delicate and to make the journey, so instead we are left with the burly varietals, which like mountain men mask their true emotions behind brusk and unidimensional facades.

The situation is akin to the apricots you mention. You may not meet a Blenheim living in New York. They just can't stand the journey.

So now I ask myself: is it worth it? Is it worth eating something that gives you the faintest glimmer of what could be? Or is that just a cruel tease?


I think you'll find, if you head into BB, that there ARE some mangos passing muster, even to your keen nose and heart. It's true we get the hardier varietals in the USA but even those have a season and when they're picked ripe elsewhere, they get to use tasting and smelling more like what they should than during other days in the year. Since you're close by you don't have an excuse not to even go and take a look-see-whiff. ~ Shuna

Will you teach a class in cutting up a mango? Seriously. I blended up fresh mango for all of my kids, as baby food, and could never, ever figure out how to cut one properly.

And I will run there on Monday. I promise.

Lauren! look at you, silly. hey-- I'll trade you: I make us tea, I get a little photo lesson where I get to ask questions and take a few shots with your lens and I teach you what i know about mangos. Deal? ~ Shuna

Well, for the rest of us you don't know, any hints for cutting up a mango properly? I knew a guy who'd make a vertical slice all around the outside (like for an avocado), and then twist violently until it came apart. Then he'd score the half and fold out the skin, and it was perfect! But, I don't know the trick to that, mine just always squish apart. Halp!

Hello HeatherLyn,
You know what the funny thing is? I just peel and cut them, paying close attention to how and where the pit resides inside the fruit. Having a good, sharp peeler and knife is a great idea.
I don't much like to eat tropical fruit off the skin because what they're allowed and encouraged to spray it with is nothing I want to ingest. Most fruits that are soft when ripe will not "twist off" their seeds well, and I prefer to eat my fruit ripe, so I use a knife. ~ Shuna

oooooohh... i'm partial to Philippine mangoes as well. Particularly those "carabao" variety that comes from the Guimaras Island. but i could be biased. i grew up on them. no need for a knife... i recall just grabbing a couple and hiding in the garden, peeling the skin off the luscious ripe flesh and licking off the juices running down my arm. i also recall childhood summers when we still had the indian mangoes size of a small lady's fist. wonderful eaten half-ripe with salty, umami sauteed fermented shrimp paste - bagoong.

try finding some crunchy green mangoes and add them chopped to salsa.

-kayenne from Manila

Oh I SO miss Berkeley Bowl. Even the 20 minutes of circling for parking was worth it every time...sniff. NOTHING like it down here in LA, unless you can get to Santa Monica for the Farmer's Market (and who can get to the West Side these days?)
Sigh. Thanks for the memories...

Oh you make me long for Sri Lanka where I was born and tasted mangoes by the bushel for years on end... I remember how I felt, like Aaron says he does, when I first arrived in Europe - why bother, after so many pale pale imitations. But, as Shuna says, also here in Germany, in the summer there comes the real thing from Pakistan or North India, the tongue seducing mind teasing complex sweet richness.

About cutting them, a small sharp vegetable knife is the best. Compared to the curves of the mango, the mango-stones are usually quite flat. I'd say one fourth thickness of the greatest girth, as a rule of thumb. So what I do, and it usually works, is to turn the mango so the stem base is exposed. Roughly measure with the eye the 1/8 on either side of the stem base and start slicing slowly. As you slice you begin to feel if the knife hits the stone and then one just adjusts the angle of the blade so that maximum of the flesh is on the slice.

As for the score and twist trick, I do it too - the mango must be the very firm kind, not totally ripe, and one really 'cuts into' rather deep than 'scoring'. The 'twisted' flesh is only very little area right in the centre. Its more a sleight of hand trick to impress I'm afraid.

Then score; criss-cross right down almost to the skin and holding the slice cut side up, with both hands, push the 'belly' underneath with the fingers gently but firmly and the hedgehog shape will come up. Lovely for presentation on a dessert plate and can be eaten with dessert fork and knife.

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