Dominican Republic Mangos … Don’t Mangle the Mango!

March 28, 2015 Facebook Twitter LinkedIn Google+ FOOD

Introducing Dominican Republic Mangos

One of  the most exciting and satisfying benefits of traveling to the tropics is the tropical fruit. I love tropical fruit, and it seems I can’t get enough. But with mangos … the trick is not to mangle the mango!

Tricky Fruit TricksIMG_1532

My first experience with a mango was memorable, but not in a good way. That mango behaved as a slimy, gooey alive being — allusive to all my efforts to eat it. My attempt at peeling the mango quickly transformed it into an oblong seed which seemed forever joined to a stringy, mushy, juicy, sticky mess, with nothing available for eating. As a last resort, I awkwardly tried to bite and suck the fruit from the seed, but that seed wasn’t letting go of its stringy, slippery mass “for nothing.” Imagine the mess and even after clean-up; the lingering mid-summer sticky fragrance attracted persistent, miniature biting ants. After that episode, I didn’t buy mangos for many years.

From Fruit Truck to Mango Junky

A few years later on a longer run to the D.R., I stopped at a fruit truck stand on the side of the road near the Coastal Gas Station at the edge of Sosua. This truck sells some of the freshest fruit in the area. With a perfectly sharp kitchen knife, the proprietor performs a little skit of slicing off bite-sized delicacies to entice buyers to taste and fall in love with the fruit. It tasted heavenly minus the mess. After watching that Dominican fruit salesman handle the mango like it was candy, I decided to give mangos another try. Once I became an adept mango handler, I was a Mango junky eating them daily during mango season, about nine months a year in the Dominican Republic!

IMG_1513How to Select Mangos

Mangos are fairly large in the Dominican Republic, except in off-season, for a few months in winter. Mangos vary in color from green to orangish yellow with tinges of red. Often the green ones are less ripe, with orangish yellow being more ripe. With fruit in the tropics you can’t always equate ripeness with color, because this fruit is not artificially colored or artificially ripened and can be confusing compared to what is exported. Fruit located in the tropics ripens quickly, so select 4-5 degrees of ripeness, to have one ready to eat daily. The best and final determination of ripeness is how soft it feels, and it should feel slightly soft, like a banana peel. Select the biggest ones, because cutting is time-consuming and you’ll get precious little fruit if the mango is too small. If ripe, store in the refrigerator to slow down the ripening process. They spoil quickly as they are picked when close to ripe and are not sprayed with ripening retardants. With the heat of the Caribbean, all fruit ripens astoundingly quickly.

IMG_1634The Art of Cutting a Mango in 7 Steps

The biggest dilemma in cutting a mango is the mango seed. Separating it from the fruit is the art. My mistake at my first mango cutting was trying to remove the skin from the mango before separating the fruit from the seed.

1. Before starting, select a large sharp knife and a cutting board.

2. Find the top of the seed which is a little nib on top of the fruit.

3. Hold the fruit with the top of seed facing up and slice to the right of the nib cutting half of the fruit away from the seed.

IMG_15194. Cut the other half of the fruit away from the seed.

5. Cut the remaining fruit on left and right sides away from the seed and throw the seed away.

6. Cut the halves into lengthwise pieces and remove the peelings from the sections.

7. Cut the sections into cubes and add lime juice to enhance the flavor.



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