Bye bye mangoes. Your season is almost over. Sure, we have a couple of weeks remaining but I am missing you already. Each year you surprise me with your flavour and variety. Each year I marvel at your perfection. Each year, I fall in love with you deeper and deeper. I know that you must leave in order to regain your strength so that when we meet again, we can fall in love all over again, deeply and madly. Oh, how I’ll miss you so.
The mango season this year has been a particularly pleasurable one for me. It allowed me to be a kid again – because my sister and nephew came to visit me, I ended up eating more mangoes that I have in a very long time. It was all good.
The mango season in Barbados got under way in May while my sister and nephew were visiting. Twice we ventured into the mango-tree-laden countryside of Barbados, pulled over to the side of the road and picked mangoes. One particular place we went to in St. Andrew, the trees beckoned us with their fruits at hand-reach.
The mangoes were so low to the ground that a two-year old could reach! Unprepared for such an unexpected bounty, we filled our handbags, our pockets and yes, we even filled our blouses, by lifting the hems to form a bowl; we made more than one trip to and from the car.
We continued driving through the countryside, windows down, the perfume of mangoes filling the air. And, like little children, we squealed with laughter and pointed each time we spotted a mango tree. At our first squeals, my nephew looked at his mother and I strangely, perhaps wondering if we’d gone mad then he join in squealing. Then there’d be times he’d squeal and we’d be silent, looking at him as if he’d gone mad! That was an afternoon etched in my memory forever.
My good friend Paula brought me lots of mangoes this year too. And there’s the promise of more in a couple of weeks when her trees give the last of their fruit for this season.
Many mornings my breakfast has consisted primarily of mangoes – I’d eat 4 at a time. When I was feeling for a snack, yep, I had mangoes. When I wasn’t eating the mangoes, I was drinking it in the form of juice. Purely my accident, I discovered a fruit juice flavour combination that I would like you to try – mangoes and guava. I know, you’re probably thinking, those two fruits are powerhouses within themselves, combining them might not be such a good idea. Trust me. Try it.
I was having guests over when I prepared the mango-guava juice. After tasting it, for the first time in my life I felt selfish about food; I wanted to keep the juice for myself and to make something else for them to drink. I didn’t. Everyone was bowled over by the flavours. Now some juice company is going to make my combo, market it and make millions. Anyway, you know that you heard it here first.
Passion fruit and mango is another juice combo I’ve been making. Mango and orange juice is excellent too (fresh orange juice). And if you’ve never had a mango lassi (mango and yogurt drink, sweetened with sugar and spiked sometimes with cardamom), you should try it sometime. It’s rich and creamy good. If you like, you can freeze the mixture into ice cubes blocks and enjoy as a snack.
Just so that I can enjoy the flavour of mango beyond the season, I have taken to pureeing the pulp and freezing them into quarter and half cup blocks. This way, when I want to make a smoothie, drink, sorbet, ice cream, granita, dessert sauce or any mango-flavoured treat, I do not have to worry.
These days, in some countries, one can enjoy certain fruits and vegetables all year round due to a number of factors such as importation from countries where these items are grown at different times of the year.
Or as a result of growing food in controlled environments created especially to replicate the conditions under which the food would have grown naturally. I believe that eating seasonally reminds us of how alive we are. I believe that it is an opportunity to marvel at the miracle of the earth and life form. Each year when the fruits, vegetables and seafood come us to bountifully, it is as if the higher beings in the great heavens press the reload buttons that feed us. What an awesome wonder!
Bye, bye mangoes… until next year.