It’s Mango Season in Jamaica

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.

Blossoming Mango tree, Jamaica
Blossoming Mango tree

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 on a tree
Mango tree

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.

Ripe Julie and Graham mangoes
Julie and Graham mangoes

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.

Julie and Graham mangoes up close
Mangoes

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

Peeled mangoes
Peeled Julie (right), and Graham

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.’

How to eat a mango
Eating a mango

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.

Mango Punch

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! 

60 comments on “It’s Mango Season in Jamaica

  1. You and I share a love of the same fruits due to our climates. Mangoes are my families all time favourite fruit. We like Bowen Specials the best (they grow near Bowen in Queensland). They are stringless with a deep complex flavour. They are our favourite for eating straight, but we will consume any variety of mango in salsas, drinks, icecream – you name it.
    Now what about passionfruit???
    budget jan recently posted..The Jewel in Portugal’s Crown is… SintraMy Profile

  2. If I have a ripe mango in front of me, I eat it as it is. No punch or salads with it.
    😉 I’d walk more than a mile to get really good ones.

  3. I love mangoes! Your post has made me yearn to have my fridge full of them, but we’re coming into winter in WA and our season is over. Loved the pics and you have just given me another reason to want to visit Jamaica! When I was backpacking years ago in Malawi, I was called The Mango Queen by fellow travellers – they are all I ate 😉
    Johanna at ZigaZag recently posted..Fun Things to do in Perth at nightMy Profile

  4. I look forward to mango season here in Canada every year. When I can’t get it fresh then I eat the dried stuff which isn’t as good but still better than nothing

    When I’m in the Caribbean though I can eat it morning, noon and night!

    I didn’t know there were so many different kinds of mangoes in Jamaica. Do they all taste different?

    The punch sounds delicious! I will have to make some once it is mango season here – hopefully just a few more weeks!

  5. Hi Marcia, well over here in Sydney mango season is over, tragedy! Our summers start when that rich mango scent starts to waft through the shops, it’s such a perfume, isn’t it?

    Now there are few mangos in the shops and they’re very expensive. We don’t have them growing here in Sydney – boo hoo – but they’re grown widely further north.
    Seana in Sydney recently posted..American Sloppy Joes From Our American Au PairMy Profile

  6. I absolutely LOVE mangoes. One good thing about moving to Asia is that they are so much cheaper here than the imported ones in my Texas grocery store. I’ve even found one here that was huge — as big as my head. I guess I’ll have to make sure I hit Jamaica during mango season.
    Michele {Malaysian Meanders} recently posted..Visiting the Long Neck TribeMy Profile

  7. Wow, that’s pretty expensive. But come to think of it, I’ve paid close to $3 for one in the US.
    I prefer being able to get them from the tree – they’re free and are allowed to ripen naturally.

  8. Sweetie Come Brush Me is one of the sweetest mangoes I’ve had and it’s not stringy, which is always a plus in my book.
    I’ll have to try the mango pie – when I have some time.

  9. I’m glad about that, Cathy. Do you get a lot of mangoes where you live?
    I love fruits and have been eating quite a lot more of them since I’ve been here.

  10. The best time to come is now, if you love mangoes. I would imagine you have quite a number of different varieties in Malaysia, Michele.
    Wonder if that big one is the Tommy Atkins or Keitt. Those are the biggest ones I know.

  11. Love that scent! It’s not that strong here yet but I’m looking forward to it — it’s the best part of the season.
    Sorry they don’t grow in Sydney.

  12. Hahaha, The Mango Queen! You must have eaten a LOT of mangoes!
    Do you have different varieties in WA? Glad you like the pics and I hope you get to Jamaica during the season and sample some of ours.

  13. Thanks, Marisol, glad to hear that. Now’s a great time to visit, you’ll be able to pick any number of mangoes right off the tree. I was in the backyard yesterday and the East Indian tree is laden. Some of the fruits are about 2 feet off the ground!

  14. Yes, we do, Jan. I Googled your Bowen Specials to see if there was something similar here. There isn’t but it’s in Florida so who knows, it might eventually come here. They sound delicious – I love stringless mangoes.
    Funny you should ask about passionfruit. I saw some in the freezer last week and thought of writing about them in an upcoming post. I love passionfruit!

  15. Oooh, that sounds yummy. We usually make passionfruit juice or add it to other fresh fruit juices.
    Growing it on your chicken shed might be best as it tends to take over other plants or trees. One of my cousins has it growing on a mango tree that it’s almost covered. Btw, I love that you have a chicken shed.

  16. Oh, that was a lovely gift. We used to have chickens when I was growing up and we always had fresh eggs. I was very squeamish of them but I liked to pick up the eggs, especially when they were still a bit warm.

  17. Lovely photo of the mango blossoms, Marcia. I was just at Kew Gardens, London, and revisited the gallery of paintings by Victorian adventuress and botanical artist Marianne North. This contemporary of Darwin visited Jamaica, producing many exquisite botanical paintings of the island’s flora. I could definitely replace a meal with mangoes, especially if they were freshly picked!
    Lesley Peterson recently posted..Rijksmuseum reopens! AmsterdamMy Profile

  18. It sure is! You’re lucky to be able to eat mango so often. I just finished the last of the ones I bought over the weekend and the those on the tree aren’t quite ready. I’m already having withdrawing symptoms!

  19. Thanks, Lesley! Incidentally, we got several thousand species from Kew Gardens in the 1800s for our botanical garden here. Next time I’m in London, I’ll have to check the gallery out.
    I know what you mean, they’re so tasty and filling. Hope you get some soon.

  20. I never tire of eating Julie, Jeremy. You’re right: they are scrumptious.
    I’m going out in a few minutes to check the tree to see if any ripe ones are there. Breakfast time!
    Thanks for your comment.

  21. It is Mangolicious!! Simply wonderful Maricia! I am really tempted to visit Jamaica. I have a friend from India who keeps talking a lot about mangoes. The Alphonso Mango is known called the King of Mangoes. She keeps telling me about a raw mango drink which is a specialty. I will definitely tell her about your post. I am sure she will love it.

  22. Several varieties of our mangoes come from India. I’ve never heard of the Alphonso but any mango that’s called the King of Mangoes has my attention. Wonder if she’s talking about a mango lassi? It’s to die for!
    Thanks for sharing my post with your friend and I hope you get to Jamaica or India and have some mangoes soon!

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