Jamaicans have a passion for mango and during mango season, everyone gets to indulge, sometimes eating enough of the fruit to replace a meal.
Mangoes are so loved here, there’s even a folk song, called appropriately, Mango Time, that celebrates the delicious fruit, and up to a few years ago, there was a mango festival in the parish of Westmoreland.
Mango season starts around April or May and ends about July, though there is at least one variety, the Tommy Atkins, which comes in around September or October.
If you’re a mango lover and are planning to visit Jamaica in the next few months, you’ll be in mango heaven. Trees are laden with mangoes; they’ll be on sale at almost every roadside stall, and included in the breakfast buffet at your hotel. In the height of the season, the aroma of the ripened fruit will hang in the air.
Mangoes are native to South Asia, where they have been grown for more than 6,000 years. They were introduced to Jamaica in the 1700s after several varieties were discovered on a French ship that was destined for Hispaniola. The ship was captured at sea by Lord Rodney and the mangoes brought to the island.
Several varieties, some known by local names, can be found here. Among them are Bombay, which was introduced by Indian immigrants, East Indian, Julie or St. Julian, Haden, Graham, Turpentine, Tommy Atkins, and one I discovered last year, Sweetie Come Brush Me.
While mangoes grow all over the island, the parishes of St. Thomas, Clarendon, St. Elizabeth and St. Mary produce the most mangoes.
Each variety has its own texture, flavor, and degree of sweetness. The flesh of some is dense, while others is stringy.
Mangoes can be eaten when they are ripe, or green, when the pulp is cut into small pieces and salt and black pepper sprinkled on it.
The pulp of the mango contains vitamins A and C, B6, other B vitamins and other nutrients. The peel also contains minerals such as omega-3 and beta-carotene. A mango contains about 140 calories.
Mangoes are used to make ice cream, jellies, jams, chutney, cheese, pie, and punch. Green mangoes can be used as a meat tenderizer. The leaves are sometimes used to treat hypertension, diarrhea, insomnia and fever.
Types of Mangoes Found in Jamaica
Black or Blackie, Bastard, Bombay, East Indian, Graham, Greengage, Haden, Julie or St. Julien, Keith, Kent, Long, Millie, Number 7, Number 11, Red Jaw, Robin, Rose, Sweetie Come Brush Me, Tommy Atkins, and Turpentine
Is a Mango Ripe or Green?
Depending on the variety, mangoes can be green, yellow, red or a combination when they are ripe. To determine if a mango is ripe, squeeze the end or the ‘nose’ gently. There should be a slight ‘give.’ Ripe mangoes have a beautiful smell.
Freshly picked mangoes can be left on the kitchen counter or table for up to 5 days. Green mangoes can be ripened by placing them in a paper bag.
How to Peel a Mango
One way to peel a mango is to cut both ‘cheeks’ with a sharp knife, then cut the fleshy cheeks into squares – making it look like a ‘hedgehog.’
I use this method when I’m using the fruit in a salad. If not, I eat it by peeling off the skin with my teeth, like I used to as a child, the juice running down my arms. Yum! That’s part of the fun of eating a mango, I think.
12 ripe mangoes
15 cups water
Juice of 2 limes
2 cups sugar
Peel mangoes, remove all the flesh and rub through a sieve. Add water, lime juice and sugar to the purée. Mix well, serve chilled or over crushed ice. Serves 8.
Do you love mangoes? What’s your favorite kind of mango?
This is my submission to Travel Photo Thursday, which is organized by Nancie at Budget Travelers Sandbox. Be sure to head over and check out more photos from locations around the world.
For even more travel photos, please check out Becca’s Friday Daydreaming series at Rwethereyetmom. Hope to see you there!