Finally Foodie Friday: Mango Season

Mango season here recently finished (or rather it had recently finished when I wrote this blog and TRIED to publish it for weeks on end but to no avail because the internet kept cutting out.  Now mango season is just a faint memory.), which we are all quite bummed about.  Though it’s been months since the season ended, Judah still asks if he can go get a mango from the tree – and doesn’t seem QUITE satisfied with my answer that he’ll have to wait until next year.  A couple years ago, however, I wouldn’t have been at all sad about the end of mango season because I didn’t like mangoes.

Judah happily gathering mangoes. We could have filled a basket like this almost every day during the height and end of mango season just from what had fallen to the ground. You know, if we had nothing to do other than gather and prepare mangoes.

Not that I ever tried them to KNOW I didn’t like them.  A girl just has instincts about such things.  All I had seen of mangoes in the States, after all, were these funny looking green, stringy things – and expensive to boot.  No thanks.

Here, though, during mango season, it seems like fruit choices are either mangoes or brown bananas, so I ventured a try when we first arrived a couple years ago.  Which is quite convenient since we now have about 5 mango trees in our yard and about 30 on our compound.  And while we were waiting for the mangoes on our compound to ripen at the beginning of the season, you could buy them around town for quite cheaply – a fairly large basket for less than $2.

Jovelle helping to gather mangoes from our front yard

One of the coolest things we’ve learned about mangoes since arriving here (I mean BESIDES that I like them!) is that mangoes picked before they are ripe are an amazing substitute for apples, which are somewhat expensive here.  The idea is to get the mangoes when they’re green-white when peeled, with no yellow hanging around inside.  This was the first year I made anything with green mangoes, and we’re hooked – though trying to figure out the right time to pick them was actually a bit stressful for me (cuz you can’t exactly tell from the outside what color it is on the inside!  (Hmm.  I think there’s a spiritual lesson there.)).  Picked too soon and they are very sour, so a lot of sugar has to be added to make the sauce edible (Yes, we learned that the hard way!), which defeats the purpose when you’re trying to find healthy snacks for your kids.  Picked too late, though, well, they’re obviously not green mangoes anymore.

(And by the way, don’t you just love what you can see of the yard?? I totally love the amazing trees and rocks – and will hopefully have pics to show of the house soon, as some people have asked about it.)

But we now have a fair amount of green mango sauce canned to eat as “applesauce” and green mango slices frozen for “apple pie.”  And green mango sauce, by the way, is arguably way better than applesauce.  Jovelle LOVES the sauce and generally has about 3-5 bowls of it – and that’s on a bad day.  We also have canned mango jam, sliced mangoes and mango puree, plus frozen mangoes and frozen mango puree.  Though it’s not quite the same as during mango season – when people use mangoes for everything (mango bread, mango sorbet, mango chutney, mango salsa, mango pie – kind of like peach pie, in some ways – mango cobbler, mango crisp, mango butter….  I even tried making mango granola but I never perfected the recipe before mango season ended, and I’m surely not going to use our limited stock of canned and frozen stuff to experiment! (I am exercising amazing self-control and refraining from any Forrest Gump shrimp references here.)) because there’s such an abundance – I’m grateful that we can continue to enjoy mangoes in our smoothies, with yogurt and in desserts with our stock.

During mango season, Judah’s favorite thing to do was pluck the mangoes right off the trees or the ground and bite into them.  Many Nigerians eat the peel as well as the fruit, and they were surprised that we didn’t and commented about it.  Judah overheard and from then on began eating the peel when he gathered them outside, declaring as he did, “I Igerian  {Nigerian}.  I eat peel.”

Sarah helping prep the mangoes for canning. I won’t show you how small my pile of peels was compared to hers. We joked that I was quite slow with the knife, and I couldn’t help but laughingly tell her about a time I was in Ireland with a certain best friend, who got a bit frustrated with how slowly I chopped. Ha ha. Sarah jokingly agreed and said that in her village, I would have been sent to do other things besides cutting because no one wants a slow kitchen helper. Ha!

MY favorite thing during mango season, though, was mango sorbet (I’m trying to pace myself on using the frozen stuff now so we don’t use it too quickly, as I realized that at the rate our mango-loving children devour the stuff, I definitely did not can enough this year!), which a friend who grew up in Ghana showed me how to make.  The great thing about it is that it uses those less than desirable mangos – and believe me, there were PLENTY of those in our yard!  We offered mangos to everyone who came to our house – from friends to the carpenter to the plumber – and we STILL had dozens and dozens of rotting mangoes in our yard.  We honestly could not gather them fast enough, much less eat them fast enough.  Daily we ran over mangos with our car and lamented the loss of them, knowing that in a few short months we would be coveting such an abundance.

Which we are right now.

But at least I have my memories of some amazing mango sorbet.  (Which were made even more memorable when someone gave us a bag of mini chocolate chips, some of which we stirred into the sorbet.  Oh. my. amazingness.)

Judah and Jovelle’s job while we cut was to wash the mangoes and bring them to us to cut. We also played restaurant – Judah was the delivery boy, bringing in buckets (and buckets. and buckets.) of mangoes from the porch to the staff at the Mango Restaurant (aptly and creatively named by Judah) to prepare for our specialty dishes.

So if you happen to come across some mangoes in the grocery store, pick some up and think of us – and if you come across them in season and they’re cheap, pick up lots and try making some mango jam or sorbet.  You won’t regret it.  (Um, unless you have a severe allergy to poison ivy, as somehow mangoes are related to poison ivy and can cause a reaction in some people.  Then you might regret it.)

(If you have the misfortune to get stringy mangoes, don’t despair too much.  The mangoes (usually after pureeing or cooking) can be pressed through a sieve or colander to un-string.  Or, if you’re lazy time conscious like me, you can blend the mango, and usually that takes care of almost all the strings.)


Mango Sorbet

This is an approximation, as when we made this we didn’t really measure – just squeezed the very ripe mangoes with our hands until the mango goo slid off, then mixed in sugar and lemon or lime to taste.  If you don’t live in Miami or Nigeria and thus don’t have twelve tons of rotting mangoes in your yard and can’t just squeeze the mangoes, cut the mangoes then put them in a food processor or blender to puree, then add other ingredients and blend again.  If you want to stretch out the mangoes, you can add about the same amount of water or slightly less as sugar.

When freezing, you can either freeze and forget about it – as I’ve done – and you end up having a texture that you sort of scrape off when you serve, or you can use the ice cream freezer method: freeze, take out and blend or stir, freeze again, take out and blend or stir again, etc., until you get bored with it or your kids want you to play outside with them and you forget.

Anyway, it’s pretty forgiving.  And did I mention good?

Blend together, then freeze:

  • 2 large, ripe mangoes, about ½ pound each (before cutting)    *You could also get a bag of frozen mangoes.
  • 1/3 cup sugar, more or less to taste, depending on your sweet tooth and the sweetness of the mangoes
  • 2 tsp. lemon or lime juice, optional (Not necessary, but really brings out the taste)
  • 1/3 cup water, optional


Judah takes a gander at squeezing the mangoes. Ooshy, gooshy mango pulp – what little boy wouldn’t love to dig his hands into that!?

Mango-Pineapple Jam

Boil until soft:

  • 8 c chopped ripe mango
  • 2 c chopped pineapple
  • 4 T lemon or lime juice

Mash. Add:

  • 8 c sugar

Boil until thick, stirring often. Seal.

-From Wild Boar on the Kitchen Floor  (You know the very name makes you want to go out and buy this cookbook!)

…And of course plain mango jam is yummy, too!  (We have some that’s somewhat thin, but we found it makes a yummy stir-in for yogurt.)

Next time we’ll share one of the downsides of mango season: mango worms.  (Now – try to forget I said anything about worms and go find some mangoes to enjoy!)






7 thoughts on “Finally Foodie Friday: Mango Season

  1. What ADORABLE pics and SUCH A BEAUTIFUL HOME!!!!!!!!!!! Wow, wow, wow. I almost want to visit!

    I didn’t love mangoes until I was an adult. (Avocados, too. I couldn’t get enough guacamole once I figured out how frigan delicious they were.) I am doing your mango sorbet this weekend. We are at the tail end of summer here and they are affordable enough. Although, not as abundant as they seem in your neck of the woods.

    If I were there, I would have been harvesting mangoes like the dickens. Like my life depended on it! I would make dehydrated fruit leather out of it. I love the dehydrated mango slices at Trader Joes. But, they are $4 for a few and it gets pricey. Imagine the delicious possibilities. In PR, mangoes are everywhere, too. My gram used to make flan out of it————so good.

    Oh, this was my favorite post so far!

  2. Great post! Mangoes are so good for you. Full of vitamin C and anti-oxidants!
    So happy you all enjoy them. I don’t like them at all. Just LOVED the pictures of the kids. What a great life for them really. So much better than city or suburbia. I have such fond memories of my summers on my Aunt’s farm every year. Cried when I had to go back to NYC for school.
    Love & prayers,

  3. I LOVE mangos – yum! We had lots of mango trees on our compound when my parents were missionaries in Nigeria so I grew up eating them fresh from the tree. I’m a bit jealous…

  4. I am in love with mango sorbet thanks to you! I agree the fresh lime juice really brings out the flavor. I used a little sweetened condensed milk instead of sugar. Absolutely fantastic and so easy. I also tried it with pineapple recently since I bought one that ended up being more ripe than I like to eat fresh so I thought I’d see how flexible the recipe is….totally worked! I used sweetened condensed milk again since I had an open container and also threw in some coconut milk besides the lime juice….delicious piña colada sorbet! Thanks for the inspiration!

    • I am so glad you wrote – and that you’re a fan of mango sorbet now!

      …And now I’m going to try your adjustments. Pineapple?? Mmmm…. Sounds yumptious! Love the idea of a pina colada one. I never would’ve thought to try sweetened condensed milk, either. I’m intrigued!

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