I read the A-frame sign as I drive past on my way home. The traffic is crawling along and I wonder if I should stop and investigate. I pass the big truck pulled over along the side of the road. The back of the truck open, a small lady smiling widely as she hands a brown bag to a customer, the small umbrella shielding them from the harsh afternoon sun. I can see boxes overflowing with mangos of all shapes and sizes. Big yellow ones almost the size of a pawpaw, a range of medium size and small green ones with a slight rose tint. My mouth starts to water. I should have stopped.
It’s summer here, so it’s mango season and all the shops are selling mangos. On a tea break last week my construction crew and I sat around eating some local mangos picked from a tree from our carpenters back garden. You use your teeth to strip the green skin from these peach size mangos and then start munching the sweet, bright yellowish-orange flesh. Mmmm. Sucking on the hairy pip to get all the goodness, before spitting it out and reaching for another one. They were delectable and our break was shortly over. We returned to work picking the hairs out of our teeth with toothpicks carved from an old plank.
Here on the Caymans it is popular to make green mango pickle. Small green mangos are chopped, salted and peppered and stored in a jar of vinegar. Toothpicks are used to get the bite sized chunks out. It makes a very good bar snack as the saltiness goes well with the local brew.
There are fruit sellers here that pride themselves on knowing exactly what mango you are going to buy. I’ve never met any of these sellers, but apparently they size you up and know whether to give you the small, green, mid sized or large variety. The Indians like them green for pickling, the English prefer the large green ones as that is how they get them in the U.K. Ha ha. Me, I’ll try them all.
A piece of useless information: The mango tree is an evergreen Indian tree, related to the cashew family and there are over fifty different varieties.