"Come on everybody clap your hands
Now you're looking good
I'm gonna sing my song and you won't take long
We gotta do the Mango and it goes like this
Come on let's Mango again like we did last summer
Yea, let's Mango again like we did last year
Do you remember when things were really hummin'
Yea, let's Mango again, Mango time is here!"
Apologies to Chubby Checker, but it is summer in Florida and time for mangos! The fruit in the picture above came from the former historical estate of Marvin "Red" Mounts who served Palm Beach County, the University of Florida Institute of Food and Agriculture Services Extension and county farmers for 40 years (1925 until the 1960's), during which time Palm Beach County's agricultural value grew from $2 million to $120 million and Palm Beach County led the USA in the production of corn and green beans. Mr. Mounts formed Florida's first 4-H Club; Mounts Botanical Garden in West Palm Beach is named after him (source: Around Boynton Beach by Janet DeVries, copyright 2006). I am not sure what variety of mango they are, but they certainly are sweet and juicy and make GREAT mango salsa (my recipe is below).
The thing about mangos is that almost everyone loves them, fresh, frozen, in mango ice cream or sorbet and they can be used in so many tasty recipes! Unfortunately, mango trees tend to produce fruit in such an abundance that the folks who own them soon get tired of harvesting all of the fruit and quickly run out of friends and neighbors to whom they can give their fruit away to.
Be warned, sure the fruit can be expensive in the stores and planting your own mango orchard sounds tempting, but are you ready for the resonsibility of tending your trees? Ask someone who owns a mango tree or two before you answer that question. Carl Hiassen, a columnist for the Miami Herald, once wrote a hilarious column about his experience with mango trees mentioning mango bombs (over-ripe fruit that would fall from high in the tree and splatter everything below the tree when it hit the ground) and walking through his yard and stepping barefoot on rotten fruit which would squish up between his toes - aww, what a feeling!
Oh, the FloridaGardener Mango Salsa Recipe:
6 large ripe Florida mangos, peeled, then diced into small cubes
1 cup red onion, minced
6 fresh Florida jalapeño peppers, finely chopped (You can use more or less depending on how spicy you might like the salsa. Be aware that if you leave the white membranes and seeds in the peppers, they will be spicier!)
1 handful of fresh cilantro leaves, chopped
1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
1 tablespoon olive oil
salt and pepper to taste
Combine all ingredients. Mix well and refrigerate until use. Yields about 2 cups depending on how large the mangos are.
The sweet and spicy flavor is amazing -- you really must try it especially on baked fresh caught saltwater fish or tilapia filets! FloridaGardener Mango Salsa is also great as a dip with Magaritaville Extra Thick Restaurant Style Tortilla Chips.
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