For those living in the sub-tropic haven of Southwest Florida, spring and summer means one thing: mangos. The tropical trees flourish in these parts, producing hundreds of nectary goodness biennially, so much so that there is almost always someone in your life (family, friends, coworkers) that brings in bundles of fruit from May through August to share. To capitalize on this Southern Florida bounty, we tapped the National Mango Board, a national promotion and research organization supported by assessments from domestic and imported mangos, for some tasty recipes, as well as some tips on how to select and prep those mangos.
Thirsty for more? For three delicious mango-inspired cocktails, click here.
While Baja may be situated a few thousand miles to the west, that doesn’t mean we can’t capitalize on the flavor of the peninsula. This recipe for Baja Fish Tacos with Mango Salsa is a great summertime beach-a-cue dish, pulling the best from the sea and land into one folded bite of delight.
Baja Fish Tacos
- 1 pound snapper* fillets, rinsed and patted dry
- 1 teaspoon chili powder
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1/2 teaspoon Mexican oregano
- 1/2 teaspoon garlic salt
- 8 corn tortillas, warmed
- 2 cups shredded green or red cabbage
- 1/2 cup crumbled cotija cheese (may substitute shredded Monterey Jack)
*The original recipe called for cod; we’ve Florida-fied the dish with snapper.
- 2 large ripe mangos, peeled, pitted and chopped
- 1/4 cup minced red bell pepper
- 1 tablespoon lime juice
- 1 tablespoon chopped fresh cilantro
- 2 green onions, sliced (green tops only)
- 1 small jalapeno pepper, stem, seeds and membrane removed
Preheat oven to 425°F.
Stir together mango, bell pepper, lime juice, cilantro, onions, and jalapeno in a medium bowl; set aside.
Place snapper on 2 large sheets of parchment paper. Stir together dry seasonings in a small bowl and sprinkle over fillets. Bring edges of parchment paper together and fold twice. Fold ends under to enclose fish. Place packets on a baking sheet and bake for 15 to 18 minutes. Open packets carefully to let steam escape. Place equal amounts of snapper in each tortilla and top with cabbage, cheese and mango salsa.
Give that traditional coleslaw side a pop of flavor with this mango-infused version.
Sweet Mango Slaw
- 1 pound shredded cabbage or coleslaw blend
- 1 mango, peeled, pitted and chopped
- 1/3 cup finely chopped red bell pepper
- 1/3 cup sliced green onion
- 1/3 cup light mayonnaise
- 3 tablespoons honey
- 3 tablespoons cider vinegar
- Salt and pepper to taste
Place cabbage, mango, bell pepper and green onion in a large bowl. Whisk together remaining ingredients and add to bowl; toss well to coat.
Forget those Otter Pops…This summer, when the kids are clamoring for something sweet and cool, rest easy knowing that these Fresh Mango Berry Pops are filled with nothing but whole, healthy fruits.
Fresh Mango Berry Pops
- 3 mangos (about 3 pounds), peeled, pitted and diced
- 6 ounces raspberries
- 6 ounces blueberries
- 2 cups coconut water
- 2 tablespoons light agave nectar
Gently push raspberries into bottom of Popsicle mold. Place diced mango into mold on top of raspberries, top with blueberries. In a liquid measuring cup, mix coconut water and agave nectar, pour into each mold, about 1/4 inch from the top. Insert Popsicle sticks into each pop mold. Freeze overnight. Remove from molds and serve immediately.
Come harvest time, your mango tree may be brimming with an overwhelming confluence of mangos, leaving you with a conundrum: when do I harvest, and how do I store the bounty? Luckily the University of Florida’s IFAS Extension office and the National Mango Board has tons of advice on how to achieve maximum yield of that mango harvest. Here’s we offer a brief overview on when to pick, help ripen, and store those mangos. For some IFAS mango advice, click here.
Mangos will ripen on the tree, though most are picked when firm and mature. If picking mangos when mature, look for fruit with filled out “shoulders and nose” (the end of the fruit away from the stem).
Mature fruit will take between three to eight days to ripen after harvest. To help aid ripening, mangos are best stored at temperatures between 70 to 75 degrees (roughly room temperature); if you want to help speed the process, place the mangos in a paper bag. Once ripe, mangos can be stored in the refrigerator for up to five days or frozen (once peeled and sliced, diced, or pitted) for up to six months.
Varieties that have color when ripe may slightly blush or change fully from green to yellow/orange when ripe, but this doesn’t necessarily determine ripeness. Give the fruit a gentle squeeze; if it gives slightly (similar to peaches and avocados), you’re good—determining ripeness is best when done by feel.
When preparing a mango dish one of the most mistakes is how to properly pit the fruit. Mangos contain a single long, flat seed at the center of the fruit with a “cheek” on either side, of which as much pulp should be preserved as possible. The easiest way to cut a mango is like so:
Hold the mango on end, with the stem side down. About a quarter inch from the widest centerline, cut down the mango with a sharp knife. Flip and repeat on the other side. This will leave you with three portions—the two cheeks, and center comprised mostly of seed (you can peel this portion and trim as much fruit from the seed as possible, but be careful not cut off any of the fibers surrounding the pit).
To dice, cut parallel slices in the mango flesh of each cheek, careful not to pierce the skin. Rotate the mango and cut another series of parallel lines perpendicular to the existing. Once sliced, either scoop out the cubes of fruit with a spoon, or flip the mango inside out by pushing on the center of the mango cheek from the skin, and scrape the mango cubes off.
Recipes and images courtesy of National Mango Board.