How many seasons does Hawaii have? Many who live here would say two: mango season and not-mango season! Not only do we have happy childhood memories of eating fresh mango, but we long for that time of year when we will again enjoy the silky sweet, juicy taste of this favorite local fruit.
Mango trees typically flower from December through April and begin bearing fruit in May. The season usually peaks in July with some trees continuing to bear fruit into October. At Foodland, we are fortunate to buy mangoes from many local farmers including Frankie’s Nursery in Waimanalo. Our farmers harvest multiple varieties when they are ripe and ready to eat, and their care ensures customers receive mango they will always enjoy! We spoke with Yupin “Jenny” Bickel of Frankie’s Nursery who shared some of her mango eating tips with us:
Any Way You Like Them: Mangoes can be eaten in a wide variety of ways, from fresh to pickled to sprinkled with li hing mui or dipped in shoyu and vinegar. They make great salsa, soup, salads, chutney, relish, preserves, cocktails, ice cream and baked treats and can even be used in sweet-savory chicken, fish or pork dishes. Even unripe (“green”) mango has its fans! Jenny at Frankie’s Nursery loves green mango with hot chili; the slightly sour and spicy flavors go great together.
Look Beyond Color: Mangoes come in many colors, and some will never turn completely red, even when ripe. The best way to tell if a mango is ready to eat is to smell it near the stem; it should have a mild, fruity scent. You can also touch it gently; a ripe mango will yield slightly to pressure. Avoid soft, bruised or wrinkled fruit, but don't be afraid of the black speckles that are sometimes found on fruit as they do not penetrate the flesh.
Freeze that Fruit: Mangoes can be stored at room temperature for a week, and once ripe, they can be kept in the refrigerator for a week. But don’t refrigerate them before they’re ripe, Jenny cautions, unless you want them to stay green. If they start to get super-ripe, “Freeze them—don’t waste them!” she advises. “You can make smoothies, ice cream, jam!” Peel and slice or cube them first to make them easier to eat or use once frozen.
On Top of the World: While mango is considered exotic by some, more fresh mango is eaten around the world on a daily basis than any other fruit, and in fact, it is considered "the king of fruit." Interestingly, in India the mango is considered a symbol of love and some even believe it can grant wishes!
Sweet and Super: Fat-free, sodium-free and cholesterol-free, mangoes have more than 20 different vitamins, minerals and nutrients. They’re especially high in vitamins A and C, folate and dietary fiber. A one-cup serving of mango has just 100 calories, so you can satisfy your sweet tooth without guilt.
Did You Know?
The first mango plants are said to have been brought to Hawaii from Manila in 1824. Captain Meek of the ship Kamehamehasupposedly divided the plants between a horticulturalist in Honolulu and a missionary in Wailuku. Fortunately for us, the plants flourished!
Mango lovers, rejoice! Cinnamon and ground ginger add a fragrant dimension to mango in this simple pie that truly features this favorite local fruit.
1 2-pack refrigerated pie crust
6 to 8 large local mangoes, peeled and cut into ½-inch thick slices
1/2 cup plus 1/4 cup sugar, divided
1 teaspoon plus 1/8 teaspoon cinnamon, divided
1/8 teaspoon ground ginger
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon lemon zest
1 tablespoon lime zest
2 tablespoons lemon juice
2 tablespoons lime juice
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 teaspoons water
Pre-heat the oven to 350°F and place a baking sheet in the center of the oven. Mix 1/4 cup sugar and 1/8 teaspoon cinnamon together; set aside. Wash mangoes well, then carefully remove skins and seeds. Slice the mangoes into ½ -inch to ¾-inch strips as best you can. Toss mango slices, ½ cup sugar, 1 teaspoon cinnamon, ground ginger, flour, citrus zests and juices, and vanilla in a mixing bowl until well incorporated. Mix egg and water together into an egg wash and set aside.
Press one pie crust into a 9-inch pie pan. Arrange the mango strips in a circular pattern at the bottom of the pan, creating a slight mound in the center. Pour the remaining juices over the mangoes and carefully cover with the second piece of pie dough. Gently smooth down over the fruit. Press the top edge into the bottom edge and pinch with your fingers to seal together. Trim off any excess overhang. Brush with egg wash. Poke a hole in the center of the top crust to allow steam to escape during baking. Sprinkle reserved cinnamon and sugar mix evenly over the top.
Place pie dish on the baking sheet and bake for about 50 minutes or until the pie turns golden brown. Remove from the oven and allow to cool for 45 minutes before cutting.
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