Friday, March 7, 2014

Let’s Do the Mango!

It’s mango season here in my tiny part of the planet. I’m ready to tango with the mangos! But they’re not quite ripe – still a bit hard and sour. I’m watching them every day, waiting until they are just ripe and then it’s a race between the birds and us!

There’s a Sri Lankan treat; a mango mixture of the not-too-ripe fruit, chili powder and salt, called Mango Achcharu. It’s very popular with street vendors. I usually can’t eat spicy, but the sweetness of the mango reacts well with the spicy bite of the chili and salt. I want to make some, along with fresh juice and slices in a bowl. There’s nothing so great as to cut open a mango, slice it and then eat the fruit off the pit. Yummy! Except you have to floss your teeth afterward!

I used to have a nectarine tree in my Californian backyard. Year after year it was loaded (and I mean loaded!) with ripening fruit. I learned that it was best to have only two nectarines off of one bud, rather than a cluster of 6-8. The individual fruit would be larger and sweeter I was told by my local nursery. So each morning, I would go out to the tree and twist off all the excess nectarines. It was a morning meditation.

I’d have to net the tree to try and keep away the birds. Picture me on a ladder with a giant net in one arm and a broom in the other to sweep the net over the top of the tree! It would have been easier to fly around on the broom! But each year I managed it.

My backyard tree attracted so many birds and insects once the fruit ripened. I’d pick them (first eating a lion's share of the sun-warmed fruit - nothing like it!), take them inside and slice away, freezing the trays of slices for later. There was too much fruit for one person and so my mom and all my friends got the sweetest nectarines they’d ever eaten. They looked forward to that time of year. They demanded their share! Just like the birds!

Watch this space for Mango Tango day!

All prepared for the harvest!

I didn't twist off the excess fruit
because they're too high off the ground!

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