It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas. But I’m in Australia, so that doesn’t mean that the weather is cold and there’s holly on your own front door. It means mangoes. Cases of them.
When you live in the Southern Hemisphere, the start of the Christmas season also means the start of summer. It’s when the weather gets even more humid, the days are long and you can’t walk into a fruit shop without the distinct smell of mangoes consuming your senses. To me, this smell brings back the most nostalgic memories of Christmas and it’s a smell that I adore. Sometimes, smelling it at the wrong time of year can throw me off, because its a unique smell that is only truly appreciated on a warm Christmas day.
These tropical stone fruits aren’t only the most delicious fruit of them all (in my opinion), but they’re great for your body and really versatile to cook with. There are so many interesting and unexpected ways to use them that don’t involve the words “pavlova” or “smoothie”. But that’s only relevant if you’re capable of holding onto a mango long enough to use in a recipe; I am not that person.
How do you buy the perfect mango? Whilst it can be tempting to pick a mango based on it’s colour, don’t. It’s not the best indicator of ripeness. Gets handsy and give the mango a squeeze. A slight softness means its on its way to mango perfection. Just like with avocados and other stone fruits, the best indicator for a good mango is feel. Rock hard, and it’s not ready; super soft with no bounce-back means it’s past ripe and should go straight in the blender.
Mangoes are absolute health powerhouses for our bodies. They are high in iron and vitamin C; and the more vitamin C, the more iron your body can absorb, so mangoes are a perfect afternoon pick-me-up. They are packed with fibre, which makes them great for digestion; have been linked to improve eye sight and clearer skin; they can even get your libido fired up (insert Seinfeld reference here).
But just like any stone fruit, mangoes are not around forever. They’re not even that good for the whole season. There’s a small window when mangoes are at their best and thaq window is December. As is with all fruit. when mangoes are cheapest, that means they’re at their peak, and that’s often the time when they taste the best too.
So next time you see a case of mangoes on special, buy as many cases as you can carry and make some of these recipes:
Or you could just make like me, and eat mango in its natural form. Because for me, nothing quite beats the joy of licking mango juice off your wrist after becoming better acquainted with a ripe Kensington Pride.
Do you have a summer memory that’s evoked at the sniff of a fresh mango? Tell us in the comments!