July 28, 2002 – From shades of pink and green to yellow-orange with a red blush, with names such as kidney, Keitt and Palmer, and ranging from palm- to pound-size, mangoes are something that just about everybody falls in love with at first bite.
There are more than 100 varieties of mangoes in the Virgin Islands, although not all are commercially viable. This summer, mango season is late because of heavy rains earlier in the year, but if your trees are now laden with the sweet treats, you may well be looking for ideas on how to use them.
Different mangoes are best eaten in different ways. For example, the local kidney mango is better for eating fresh than for juicing. Keitt mangoes are better for juicing, while Palmer mangoes and many other types are excellent stewed and made into jams and chutneys.
The simplest recipe calls for a ripe juicy fruit and a napkin. Half the fun of eating a mango is to suck and savor the flavor as the flesh reluctantly pulls from the hard inner seed.
With all the small mangoes falling from the trees around our North Side St. Thomas house, I decided a recipe utilizing finely diced mangoes would be better than one calling for big beautiful slices. Thus, here's a recipe for Mango Bread, a sweet bread that actually eats more like a cake!
For those who want to know more about mangoes, the Cooperative Extension Service at the University of the Virgin Islands has published a booket called "Mango Bits & Bites." The publication includes a brief history of the mango, descriptions of different varieties, agricultural facts from planting to harvesting, and 21 recipes, each with an accompanying nutrient analysis. Copies are available at the UVI bookstores on the St. Thomas and St. Croix camuses. The price is $5.
1 1/4 cup finely diced ripe mango
2 teaspoons lemon juice
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup sugar
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup chopped nuts, raisins or chopped mixed dried tropical fruits
Spray 9 x 5-inch loaf pan with nonstick coating spray. Dust with flour; set aside.
Sprinkle diced mangoes with lemon juice and set aside to marinate.
In a large bowl, stir together the flour, ground cinnamon, baking soda, salt and sugar. In a second bowl, beat the eggs and oil. Blend the mangoes into the egg-and-oil mixture. Combine the mango-egg mixture with the flour. Blend well. Add the nuts, raisins or dried fruits. Again, blend well. Pour the batter into the prepared pan. Bake at 350 F for 50 to 60 minutes, until a knife inserted in the middle comes out clean. Note: This is a moist bread, especially if you use a bit more mangoes than called for in the recipe.
Makes 1 loaf, about 16 slices. Per slice: 145 calories, 5 gms fat (32 percent fat calories), 26 mg cholesterol, 60 mg sodium.
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