Cooking with Fruit: Mangoes

Mangoes.

IMG_4533Addiction. My fruit crack.

Back at home in Nigeria, mango season for me was heaven. I’d buy small basket loads every week and have at least half a dozen every day till the rains came and drove the mangoes away. I liked the just-ripe ones and woul eat myself into a mano stupor everyday!

Years on, dried mangoes have replaced what once was fresh. Thanks to my older sister who has a way of passing on her addictions for things like Haribo gold bears and dried fruit. Every time I go to the UK, I make sure I bring back packets of Forest Feast’s dried mangoes, sourced from the Philippines, undoubtedly the world’s best producer of dried mangoes. I also have a Filipino friend who brings me kilos every year when she visits the Netherlands and so I have had two ‘categories’ of dried mangoes – one characterized by a clear mango flavor and just the right amount of sweetness (Forest Feast) and the other, more sugar than I like with hints of mango flavor (direct from source). What both have in common is the slight tartness and chewiness of dried fruit which I love.

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So last week when the boerman (weekly fruit supplier) gifted me with 4 large mangoes, I decided to get my groove on and attempt a homemade version. A trip to google and a recipe in hand, I began with minimal fuss.

An initial contemplation of fruit leathers quickly abated, as I didn’t want an excessive amount of sugar in the mix, plus the ‘effort’ required. This was after all a lazy Saturday task.

Dried Mango Recipe, adapted from Pinoy Business

Ingredients
500g firm ripe mangoes (1 large or 2 small)
225 g white caster sugar
500ml water
10 g sodium metabisulfite (preservative) (I didn’t have so didn’t use)
How to

Wash mangoes thoroughly and peel using stainless steel peeler. Then slice diagonally about 5/16 of an inch thick. At this I laughed…….I don’t keep a ruler in my kitchen. I just cut them about 3-4mm thick…with the eye!

Prepare syrup by mixing sugar, water and sodium metabisulfite. I didn’t have the so-called sodium ‘salt’, so didn’t use.

Heat the syrup then add the mango slices. Heat until 90oC. I was in the process of doing this but in a bid to set my Ikea cooking thermometer on the pot, it fell in…..and completely ruined itself and so I watched till the mangoes just came to the boil. Soak mangoes in syrup for 6 hours/overnight. The resulting texture is that of canned fruit.

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Drain the mangoes from the syrup and spread on trays and dry at 45-55oC for at least 18 hours. I dried mine for nine hours and they were great. Whatever you do, don’t be tempted to leave them in the oven after you’ve turned it off, for hours on end………..or your perfectly manicured nails might see damage. But I lie as I haven’t had my nails primed in years….so no accidents occurred. It is however tricky to pull them off cause as they dry, they don’t want to part company with the baking tray. Be warned.

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Sweat in cheesecloth overnight. I did try to sweat them in cheesecloth, but didn’t really see the purpose. Pack in polyethylene bags and seal.

 

The Result

The dried mangoes were nice with a distinct mango flavor, only lightly sweetened but a touch chewy. Somewhere in between the The Forest fruit version and the Filipino one. And if you think this has given me the confidence/inspiration to make it by the bulk…..it hasn’t. I will return to my old ways, buying and begging for either packaged version.

What I am glad about is discovering how that ‘canned fruit’ texture is attained, think peaches and apricots and mangoes – that firm, slight chewiness in the fruit.

Mango lassi, adapted from food52

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Ingredients
1 cup thick Greek or Turkish yogurt, chilled
1/2 cup cubed fresh mango
1/8 teaspoon ground cardamon
1/2 teaspoon ground sumac (see photo) or 1/8 teaspoon grated lemon zest
1/4 teaspoon zest of fresh lemon
1 1/2 agave nectar (or honey to taste)
2 ice cubes, crushed up
To garnish: Pinch of black salt, kosher or fine sea salt, sumac and mint leaves
How to

Combine all the non-garnish ingredients in a blender and process. Chill, if desired.

IMG_4597Garnish with sumac, salt and a mint leaf

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I liked the lassi very much. The original was made with heirloom tomatoes but I decided to wait till the hot summer to try that combination. The sumac and lemon gave it a sweet zesty flavour that was refreshing and the mango flavour wasn’t overpowering.

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The best thing though was the salt finish…..it enhanced the fruity flavours of the ‘smoothies’. When I was tired of drinking the litre I made, I spiced up my bircher muesli by adding some. A worthy finish to breakfast.

What are you favourite mango recipes? Share them please and have a great week.[wpurp-searchable-recipe]Cooking with Fruit: Mangoes – – – [/wpurp-searchable-recipe]

20 Comments

  1. […] I see the first batch of the season – piled high on enamel trays in yellow and red pyramids and I decide this is a worthy substitute. But I’m not thinking about making a delightful mango salad, or drying them, or even whipping up a lassi. […]

  2. From we hear mangoes, we are in. As children of Jamaica, summers were spent up to our elbows in buckets of mangoes. We have songs about mango season. Love mango lassi too. Nice to hear that the same spirit runs through you 🙂

  3. I ADORE mangoes…I have a huge pile sitting on my table as I type..I had them for lunch with jicama and cucumber, yummy
    My hubby loved dried mango, at sun harvest they sell them out of bins, so you can choose the amount you desire..mango,melon,papaya,apples..oh I buy TONS of it so mix into my oatmeal, sorry the recipe did not work out, but at least you tried..the lassi looks amazing!!

    sweetlife

  4. Thanks for your comments everyone.

    Valerie – this variety of mango is not the same one I love to eat so I crossed that option off the list and went with other versions of mango which I love.

    Norma, I’m so sorry to hear about your blog – I’ve emailed you but I hope you can recover it. I understand how you must feel.

    Rhonda, I’d skip home drying. Like I said, it was nice to know how it’s done but not necessarily something I want to repeat.

    Oh Lyndsey, are the squirrels red and gourgeous with bushy tails? Still I think no matter how nice they looked I’d be ticked off with them for eating my precious mangoes. Can I come visit and stand guard?

    Penny, I’ve microwave dried strawberries before and the result was great. Good reminder to try them in the oven soon.

  5. I never thought to put sumac with mangoes….interesting.

    My mango tree is in bloom right now and hopefully a lot of fruit will set. My problem is I have to fight the squirrels for my mangoes. I will go to pluck one fresh off the tree and low and behold…a bite was already taken out of the other side! 🙁 Its’ enough to drive you crazy. 😀 I might have to start looking into the dried.

  6. Perfect timing! We just bought a ton of mangoes and I would love to fancy a few of them up without inhaling them immediately. Yum!

  7. It’s not too long before Alphonso mangoes come into season and huge boxes of fragrant ripe fruit from India and Pakistan arrive in the markets and shops here. I make mango smoothies every day then and love the look of the lassi recipe. I’d never have thought of adding sumac.

  8. Mangoes are so relish, I confess that I don’t enjoy preparing them. I am fortunate that dried mangoes are easy to get here. I think I’ll skip trying to dry them myself.

  9. Lovely….

    I will be out of commission for a bit as I have lost my blog Platanos, Mangoes and Me! It is floating somewhere in cyberspace and I cannot get it back. 14 months of work all gone with my followers and people I follow on my reader. Once all is resolved, I will let you know when I will beback….

  10. Your mango lassi looks delicious! And good on you for trying to make your own dried mango, even if it was hard work! 🙂

  11. I also adore mangos. There is nothing like them. I have made many fruit leathers when my children were young and would love you to so this again, sans sugar. Don’t you think there is enough sugar in the mango on its own? Was it the colour you were wanting to preserve – as sugar will do that. In any case, the recipes were unexpected, unusual and very exciting and enticing. I love the salted drink. Can’t wait to try some of the recipes… I am surprised, though, that you wanted to dry any at all, considering your capacity for eating them fresh when in season – hehe!!
    I, too, can really devour these lush sweet treasures!
    :0
    valerie

  12. Wow those look great. I love mango lassis but to be truthful, I’ve never tried it with sumac. What a great idea. I’m with you on the dried mangoes, I like the Phillipino version the best. Yum!

  13. I share your love for mangoes Ozoz, having grown up in a tropical country. Luckily we get a lot of mangoes from Queensland here, but I’ve also developed an addiction to a dried mango sold at my local farmer’s markets. It’s hideously expensive at $40/kilo so I have to ration what I buy. Perhaps it’s time to make my own with this recipe? Hmmm….

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