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Mango Mania

DSC01553Mangoes are marvelous. A juicy sweetness like nothing else. They’re great plain or with a squeeze of fresh lime and a light sprinkle of cumin. Smoothies turn velvety with cubes of frozen mango blended in and have you ever had a mango lassi? Wow, the coconut milk-mango combo is such a treat! Mangoes also are great as the base for chutneys and salsas. Fresh, frozen or dried, hot or cold, mangoes are amazing.

Our favorite kind is the small champagne, sometimes called ataulfo or honey, mango. They’re not stringy like their larger cousins are.  The skin turns a golden yellow when ripe and inside is a brilliant orange-golden flesh with a thin, but large seed. And they are delicious. Incredible, really.

Available only twice a year, spring and summer, they’ve been for sale here in Seattle recently. We do love them, but they’re pretty expensive. Recently, though the sale was so awesome that I decided to stock up; we bought six cases of 12.

Mango SlicerBut fresh mangoes don’t last very long, so what do to do? Eat them, dehydrate some, eat some, puree some, eat some, freeze some, eat some more.

I set up an assembly (disassembly?) line to tackle the job. I rinsed them, sliced & pitted them, and scooped out the flesh. The choicest pieces were then sliced thinner to become dried mango. Anything slightly mushy or scraggly would be pureed, with the puree destined for fruit leather and mango ice cubes.

To make fast work of opening mangoes I rely on my trusty mango splitter, a gift from my mother-in-law a few years back. That slicer changed the way we look at mangoes in this house. I used to avoid buying them regardless of their succulent flesh because the seeds can be a beast to remove. Then came the magical mango slicer, and we’ve been enjoying copious fresh mango ever since.

DSC01578 Dried Mango

This was the first time I’d dehydrated mango, and now I’m hooked. We used the Nesco FD-60 Snackmaster Food Dehydrator, and not only is ours so much less expensive than store bought, it’s far superior. The slices are dried but not at all dry or tough. They retain a slight, but easy chew and the flavor is much more intense than the dried mango we buy bought.

After pureeing I poured some of the mango into ice cubes trays, froze them, then popped them out and stored them in ziplock bags in the freezer. These were a hit, too: they add a delicious punch to Jordan’s morning smoothies or can be sucked on like little popsicles. Eating the cubes is yummy, but slippery!

DSC01583   DSC01579

The rest of the puree was dehydrated and, though it made decent fruit leather, wasn’t our favorite of the three preparations. Flavor-wise it’s great, but it’s a bit tough and gummy on the teeth. This was also my first foray into fruit leather dehydration, so maybe next time will be better.

And there will be a next time. It’s incredibly gratifying to prepare food for later knowing that I saved some moolah in the process. And the outcomes were so deliciously satisfying that I’m sure by the time fall rolls around, and the stores fill with mangoes again, our stash will be long gone and we’ll be eager for more.