Keisha Shakespeare-Blackmore, Staff Reporter
East Indian mangoes are almost kidney shaped
and are among the 'Rolls Royce' of mangoes - RICARDO MAKYN/STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER
"Mi nuh drink coffee tea mango time, care how nice it may be mango time.
In the heat of the mango crop, when di fruit dem a ripe an drop;
Wash your pot, tun dem dung, mango time"
- Popular Jamaican folk song
IN THE height of the mango season many Jamaicans tend to depart from their everyday eating habits. At any given time of the day they can be seen gobbling down a mango or two. True mango lovers do not care about type of mango. And they will go to any lengths to obtain them. Some mango lovers get so carried away with their passion they are like pregnant women with pica.
Mango may not be native to Jamaica but has become a major part of our culture. During the season the streets are punctuated by stalls with a wide variety of luscious mangoes. The popular ones such as the East Indian and St. Julian, otherwise called Julie, are sold at a premium price. Other varieties such as: blackie, Bombay, common, number eleven and robin, are cheaper. And, during the season, yards are littered with ripe fruit fallen from the trees.
In the rural areas even the cows and goats are big fans of mangoes. Many farmers use common mangoes to feed their cattle. Also in rural Jamaica, most people tend not to buy mangoes because there is a tree in almost every yard. Very often, surplus is shared with relatives and friends.
Not all parishes have an abundance of mangoes; the ones where they abound are: St. Thomas, Clarendon, St. Mary and St. Elizabeth. However, each is famous for a different variety. St. Thomas is known for East Indian and Julie while Clarendon has common (stringy), sweetie, come brush me number eleven, turpentine and robin. St. Mary is known for East Indian while St. Elizabeth is said to be the land of black mangoes.
This is a medium-sized fruit that is stringy but very sweet. It has a large top and small end, green in colour with a red or yellowish colour at the top end. It is very juicy and usually has a very distinct smell.
ST. JULIAN, POPULARLY CALLED JULIE
This is a medium-sized fruit that does not show much colour. It has a good flavour and texture. It is somewhat flat on one side and the flesh is not completely fibreless.
It is a medium-sized fruit that has a good flavour.
Hayden is generally an irregular bearer. It is a medium-sized fruit that does not show much colour but has a good texture and flavour.
3 . Tommy Atkins:
Tommy Atkins is an oblong to oval-shaped mango and is one of the most common varieties. It is more fibrous and has a blander taste than other readily available mangoes. It is medium to large in size and the skin is thick and orange to yellow in colour. The flesh is medium to dark yellow, firm and juicy.
4 . Keith:
Keith is the largest variety of mango available (weighing an average of two pounds). It is a round/oval-shaped fruit with a medium thick skin. The flesh is orange to yellow and is fibreless except nearer to the seed. It has a rich, sweet flavour and is a good quality fruit.
5 . Kent:
This is an oval-shaped mango that is fuller and not as flat as other varieties. It has particularly smooth, non-fibrous flesh that is juicy and sweet. The skin is greenish to yellow with dark to red blush and grey bloom and the seed is small.
Kent is available during the months of July, August and oftentime in September. If left on the trees too long, the seed tends to sprout in the fruit, a condition called oviparity.
6 . Haden (or Hayden):
Hayden is the roundest (least kidney-shaped) of the commonly available mangoes. Like the Kent, it has a very smooth, juicy flesh. It is generally an irregular bearer mango that does not show much colour and has a good texture and flavour.
Here is a list of other mangoes:
2. Sweetie Come Brush Mi
6. Number Eleven
8. Red Jaw
The mango tree plays a sacred role in India. It is a symbol of love and some believe that the mango tree can grant wishes.
In the Hindu culture, hanging fresh mango leaves outside the front door during Ponggol (Hindu New Year) is considered a blessing to the house.
Mango leaves are used at weddings to ensure that the couple bears many children (though it is only the birth of the male child that is celebrated - again by hanging mango leaves outside the house).
Sources: www.hort.purdue.edu/newcrop/morton/mango_ars.html www.theworldwidegourmet.com/fruits/exotic/mango.htm