Signs of Spring: Mango Season is Here

By Joell Folger

Even as the March snow falls, signs of spring are popping up everywhere. One of my favorite food signs of spring is the start of “good mango” season. By “good mangos,” I am talking about the Ataulfo mango, sometimes called a honey mango or even a champagne mango.

The Ataulfo mango is a cultivated variety and named for the grower, Atauflo Morales Gordillo. This tropical treat is so very special to Mexico that it is protected by the Mexican Institute of Industrial Property. Which essentially makes it the champagne of mangos, named and claimed for a region. They tend to be available March through October.

My love for this particular mango is complete madness, mango tunnel vision. These sweet, sour, nutty deep golden mangos are the fruit of dreams. Not just food dreams, but daydreams of summer. Past summer memories and those of the summer awaiting us. These mangoes are a burst of golden sunshine on gray spring days, they are hope for summer days.

As soon as I slice into the skin to remove the peel, the smell and the color give away hints of ripeness and what to look forward to when devouring. The flavor explosion that awaits, ‘insert chef kiss here’. Once the main sections of flesh are cut away, the sweetest part is left behind. These fleshy chunks that are left behind on the seed are best enjoyed right off of the seed with juice dripping down your hands and arms.

In addition to being a smoothie staple, I enjoy them plain or with some raspberries. They also make for the most delicious mango salsa. I like to keep that recipe simple with some crushed pineapple, jalapeno peppers, red onion, cilantro to taste, maybe even some red or green sweet peppers if I have them.

As we are entering crazy spring weather with longer daylight hours, the winter is winding down. March means engaging my internal radar for this mango, spotting it through a crowded produce department. Look out, you don’t want to get between me and the mangos. Ask the dude looking for kiwi that I may or may not have slightly edged out of my way…..we had a good laugh though.

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