If it’s summer in southwest Florida, you’ll hear a lot of residents ask, “When will this heat end?”, “When will it stop raining?” and “What do I do with all these mangoes?”
While many of us year-round Floridians are enduring the heat and humidity, the mango trees are thriving and producing fruits. After more than 100 years of cross-breeding, resulting in numerous varieties that can ripen at different times, fresh mangoes are available from spring through fall in Florida, but July to September is peak time for fruit production.
If you have a tree near your house, you are familiar with that “Thud!” signaling another mango has fallen to the ground. Unfortunately, many of those that fall are either under-ripe, over-ripe or suffer damage from the fall that makes them inedible. The flesh of large, under-ripe mangoes is green and can be tried in savory dishes like chutney. Or you can try one of Henry and Clara’s Fords favorite recipes for green mango pie here, although trying to make unripe fruit sweet is often tricky. Ripe mangoes are often eaten fresh or added to a refreshing summer salad. Check out our recipes for mango and black bean salad, mango smoothies, and mango salsa.
Visit our Garden Shoppe, where we sell a variety of delicious mango varieties that you can grow in your yard. Currently, we have the ‘Carrie’ and ‘Mahachanok’ varieties in stock. Both are free of the fibers common in many mango fruits. The ‘Carrie’ only reaches a height of 20 feet. The ‘Mahachanok’ fruits twice a year.
If you have too many mangoes, or don’t care for them but hate to see them go to waste, call your local food bank and ask if you can donate mangoes. Many organizations will accept fresh fruit from individuals. The Harry Chapin Food Bank of Southwest Florida is one of many charities that accepts fresh mangoes.