The trees are loaded with mangoes this year, and although still green, people are already coming up with long sticks and beating the mangoes out of the trees.
I live in an area where urban meets jungle, with a lot of undeveloped property and a lot of wild, unattended mango trees. Every year people come from all around town with their buckets, grain sacks, and bamboo poles to harvest mangoes. Often they will courageously and without fear or gear climb 40 or 50 feet to the tops of the trees and shake the fruit down.
Last year I processed several buckets of mangoes myself, until my freezer was full. But those were all fully ripened and super sweet, in the way that I think of fruit, like a dessert. So what are they doing with all the green mangoes?
Green mangoes are actually super-healthy to eat, as they are full of antioxidants and have properties that can aid in the treating of liver disorders, and they contain more Vitamin C when green than when ripe. Some people just eat them green, others prefer to prepare it in a more palatable form. Mango chutney is made from green mangoes, utilizing their sourness to create a delicious and tart sauce. Green mango salads are enjoyed here in Mexico, as well as being a favorite in Southeast Asia. Here the favorite seems to be Green Mango Salsa, a puckering tart and spicy taco topping. I have never sampled it myself, so I am going to pick a few mangoes, chop them up, and give it a try!
Green Mango Salsa
2 cups green unripened mango cut into ¼ inch cubes
¾ cup diced red pepper
½ cup diced red onion
1 large jalapeno chile, minced with seeds and ribs
¼ cup chopped cilantro
2 Tb lime juice
½ tsp salt
½ tsp black pepper
Combine ingredients, mix well, and refrigerate for at least an hour to meld flavors. My first observation while mixing was how delightfully colorful it was. It wafted a wonderful smell of fresh onion, pepper, and cilantro. The flavor was tart and spicy as you would expect, and I loved how the jalapeno flavor was infused into the mango pieces, so it was like eating salsa made of crunchy pieces of jalapeno that were not uncomfortably spicy. I am surprised by how much I like it, and I will keep making it throughout the mango season.