Thursday, February 10, 2011


If early blossoms are an accurate indication, my backyard mango tree is going to produce a bumper crop of fruit this year. I went out to sit in the yard the other day (eat your heart out, you snowbound, frozen denizens) and noticed that the table and chairs were covered with tiny bits blossoms from the tree branches above.

When I looked up, sure enough the tree was full of them.

We don’t always get a good crop from this tree.

We moved here in 1993 and the next spring. our first here, we got zero mangos. Oh, well, we thought, it would have been nice to have some but it’s no big deal.

Then the tree produced fruit the next year and has pretty much done so for all but a couple of times since. Once we went on vacation in June and when we got back the yard was covered with mangos that had fallen from it. We made a mental note not to be gone for long in June any more.

Every morning when the fruit begins to ripen my wife will go out and pick up a half dozen or more that have fallen overnight. Some will have bites out of them from passing wildlife. Geckos would be my guess. (Maybe I can work out some sort of catering deal with Geico on this.) I try to reach as many as I can with a shrimp net, but many are too high up to reach.

I’m not sure exactly what kind of mangos these are. I think they’re Kent because they are really tasty and they are not stringy at all, as some varieties are. You can have them for breakfast, as a dessert, or just a snack, and they make great daiquiris.

Not everyone appreciates mangos, though. A few years ago, I took some to a friend’s home on a visit. He and his wife looked at them kind of suspiciously, and the next morning when she peeled them for breakfast, she handled them like they were hand grenades with the pin pulled. My friends took a taste to be polite and left the rest for me. (The breakfast she fixed was better any way.)

Of course, if you have ever peeled a mango, you know how messy they can be. Someone wrote, only a bit facetiously, that the first step in peeling a mango is to get into a bathtub.

My friend lives in Indiana, which is where I am from, and we hadn’t heard of mangos when we were growing up. Peaches were the big deal in Knox County, not mangos.

We used to call green peppers “mango peppers”, usually shortened to just mangos.

Some years later, when I was in the service and stationed outside the States, you can imagine my puzzlement when I heard someone sigh and say, “I wish I had some mango ice cream.”

Ice cream made from green peppers? What in hell does that taste like? And do you eat it as a salad or a dessert?

I have since learned what they are, and I like mangos. Very much. And not just in daiquiris either, if that is what you were thinking.

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