My mother has always been a healthfood nut. When I was young my snackfood options were raw vegetables, fruit or a small handful of nuts (unsalted). Vegetables and nuts are hard to push on young kids, so she focused most of her efforts on fruit. Dried apricots were her version of gummi bears, frozen bananas were her version of icecream, a glass of water and an apple instead of a glass of (sugary! evil! lacking in natural fibre!) fruit juice. As you can imagine, I rebelled big time. I haaaaated fruit. I didn't want fruit in yoghurt, I didn't want fruit in dessert. I didn't want fruit cake or even strawberry icecream.
That is, until I discovered mangoes.
Mangoes are the fruit of gods. The smell like an orchard after rain and taste like a lovechild of passionfruits, peaches and pineapples. Unbelievabley sweet but with a delightful tang. I would devote my life to being a mango spokesperson. The mango season begins here in late October and can carry through to February in a good year. I would spend all my allowance and Christmas money on mangoes during this time, eating sometimes 2 a day. I had a love affair with mangoes for about 4 years until mangoes betrayed me. I was about 11 or maybe 12 when suddenly I had a horrible painful allergic reaction to mangoes. I ended up in the hospital because my throat was closing up. My tongue was so swollen that I couldn't fit it in my mouth (It is the strangest feeling in the world when suddenly have to plan carefully for moving your tongue when you close your mouth. It usually just happens automatically). It was a traumatic break-up, and I held a grudge against mangoes for years.
So now I am 23 and my mango reaction was at least 11 years ago. Someone once told me that your body replaces every single cell over a period of 7 years, and if you are not exposed to the allergen in that period of time then the body will not create more t-memory cells which record your body's way of dealing with a substance it deems to be harmful. It decided the threat has passed and doesn't bother wasting energy on putting up a front.
Just before Christmas I decided to test this theory and ate a mango. Stupid? Perhaps. Damn, I had forgotten how good they are. The next day I woke up with very cracked lips and my face felt hot and tight. Most people would take this as a sign not to push their luck, but I persisted. A week later I bought another mango, slathered my lips with chapstick, and attacked that juicy little sucker. Immediately after I washed my face and drank lots of water. Success! I now have several mangoes a week without incident.
There are three varieties easily found in my local stores:
The huge Australian variety R2-E2 (I always accidentally call it R2-D2) is pretty crappy. I have not once found an R2-E2 in stores which is not already past its prime and covered in bruises, despite the assumption that it has actually had less shipping than foreign varieties. It's also quite melony with not much tang.
Kensington Prides are about half the size of R2-E2s, but with twice the taste. They are probably the tangiest mainstream variety.
Honey Golds are my favourite- juicy and sweet but still with a definate tang.
A beginner's guide to hedgehogging a mango: