I'm going to pause my travel stories for a moment, and fast forward to the present. As America picks over Thanksgiving leftovers and gears up for Christmas, I'm loving summer here in Australia, because summer = mango season. Andy and I are mango-obsessed, so I was not terribly unhappy to leave the US in the end of October, saying goodbye to this:
Especially because it meant coming home to this:
And this, which I think is prettier than any Christmas tree.
Within two weeks of coming home, we have welcomed about 100 mangoes into our home. Not all at once - the most we had at any given moment was 59, but we've been eating them and adding more.
You might think this is overkill, but last year's mango season had so much promise, and was then cruelly cut short by the stupid wet season. So we couldn't resist, on the bike path one afternoon, the mangoes that looked to be within reach that were just starting to blush. We pulled over, and found that they were higher than they looked, and even Andy's extreme 6'6 reach couldn't grab them. Did we let that defeat us? Hell no - Andy boosted me up, and somehow we managed to come home with a backpack-full of big, Bowen mangoes.
Later in the week, we went out with Dee and BoaB and their amazing telescopic pruner.
Then we went to the uni and scoured the trees there.
And the next weekend we bought two buckets at the markets. I did mention we were a bit obsessive, right?
We've been eating a few fresh mangoes every day. Usually straight up, but also with ice cream, crumpets, or tapioca pudding. Or, this morning, in pancakes (recipe here).
In green mango salad (made with fresh tumeric, chilli, and lime juice from Dee and BoaB's garden - delicious!).
And in spicy mango salsa, on burritos.
Our goal, in addition to eating as many fresh, delicious mangoes as possible, is to preserve them in lots of different ways, so we can enjoy mango-deliciousness all year round. I wish we had a preserving kit, or even the gear that let us jar stuff in a sterile and long-lasting way. I also wish we had a giant freezer. But we don't. We do, however, have a dehydrator, a bread maker, and an ice cream maker. So we put them to use.
We've had a few batches of dried mango slices.
And fruit leather.
And we've made some mango-ginger-lime sorbet, which admittedly won't last us all year long, or even all month long, but it is delicious.
And we put the breadmaker to use on a few batches of mango jam.
We've got four methods of getting into mangoes in our repertoire. First, for mangoes that are on the underripe side, and which you want to cut up the whole thing, including the fruit around the seed - peeling the skin works best.
Just be careful not to peel yourself. It hurts.
For mangoes that are quite ripe, and which you want to cut up the whole thing, including the fruit around the seed - score a shallow X in each cheek of the mango, then peel the skin off with your hands. If you want just the cheeks of the mango, and aren't so fussed about the seed (for example, to serve at a dinner party with tapioca pudding...) you can just cut the cheeks off and scoop out the fruit with a spoon. If you just want to eat the mango, and not bother with cutting, our favourite is to cut off the cheeks, score, and then pop out. We refer to it as 'porcupined', but it doesn't look that much like a porcupine I guess.
Barring any unforeseen, mango-wrecking rains, we should be living this lifestyle for another few weeks at least. It's the most wonderful time of the year!